Dealing with Clitoral Phimosis

In Female Pelvic Pain by Stephanie PrendergastLeave a Comment

By Stephanie Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles

Clitoral phimosis, while not widely discussed, is a condition that affects many worldwide. It’s characterized by the formation of adhesions or scar tissue that covers the clitoris, causing discomfort, pain, and sexual dysfunction. Understanding and managing this condition can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected.

What is Clitoral Phimosis?

Clitoral phimosis is a medical condition where the clitoral hood becomes adhered to the clitoris due to the formation of adhesions or scar tissue. This often results in decreased sensitivity, discomfort, or pain during sexual activity. It’s a common symptom of lichen sclerosus, an autoimmune skin condition, but it can also occur due to aging, hormonal changes, or daily life factors that include things such as hair getting ‘stuck’ under the clitoral hood and causing inflammation and/or infection. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of clitoral phimosis include decreased sensitivity or pleasure during sexual activity, discomfort or pain in the clitoral area, symptoms of persistent genital arousal, and challenges with urination.

Diagnosis is typically made through a physical examination by a healthcare provider. If you notice any changes in your clitoral area, such as increased sensitivity, pain, or visible adhesions, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for clitoral phimosis depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. Here are some possible treatments:

  1. Topical Steroids: Topical corticosteroids are often the first line of treatment. They help reduce inflammation and can break down the adhesions causing the phimosis.
  2. Hormonal Therapy: If the phimosis is due to hormonal changes, hormonal therapy might be recommended. This could involve topical estrogen creams or systemic hormone replacement therapy.
  3. Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release the adhesions. This is typically a last resort when other treatments have failed.
  4. Sexual Counseling and Therapy: Since clitoral phimosis can impact sexual function and pleasure, sexual counseling or therapy can be beneficial. This type of therapy can help individuals and couples navigate changes in their sexual relationships due to this condition.

Coping with Clitoral Phimosis

Living with clitoral phimosis can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Here are some strategies to cope:

  • Education: Understanding the condition can help reduce anxiety and fear. Read about it, ask your doctor questions, and consider joining support groups.
  • Communication: If you’re in a relationship, openly communicate with your partner about your condition, how it impacts your sexual activity, and ways you can work together to maintain intimacy.
  • Self-Care: Regular gentle cleaning of the clitoral area can help prevent further adhesions. Avoid harsh soaps or irritants that could exacerbate the condition.
  • Seek Help: Don’t hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals if you’re struggling with physical discomfort or emotional distress.

Clitoral phimosis, like many sexual health issues, can feel isolating. But remember, you’re not alone. With the right information, treatment, and support, you can navigate this condition and maintain a fulfilling sexual life. If you think you might have clitoral phimosis, consult with a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.

 

Resources:

  1. Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute:
    • Rachel Kilgore, a certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner, discusses the use of specific myofascial release as a treatment for clitoral phimosis in this blog post.
  2. International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH):
    • This position statement on lichen sclerosus from ISSWSH provides detailed information about this condition, which is often associated with clitoral phimosis.
    • You can also explore their educational videos section for more insights into women’s sexual health issues.
  3. LS Support Network:
    • The LS Support Network provides a comprehensive article about the relationship between the clitoris, lichen sclerosus, and clitoral phimosis. You can find it here.

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