Short Frenulum on the Glans Penis: Symptoms, Care and Treatment
A short frenulum on the glans penis is known as frenelum breve, or short frenulum. It’s an anatomical alteration that affects men at birth or develops later. Unlike phimosis, this anomaly doesn’t always correct itself over time.
The frenulum is a fold of skin that joins the foreskin to the glans. It’s “V”-shaped, and when it’s very short, it creates a strong tension when pulling it back or during an erection. A short frenulum on the glans penis can cause severe pain and bleeding during intercourse.
There are several treatment alternatives for this condition. Medications may be used or exercises may be recommended. If this doesn’t work, the short frenulum on the glans penis can be corrected by surgery.
A short glans penis frenulum is a condition that usually requires surgery
In most cases, the short glans penis frenulum is easy to identify. This fold joins the underside of the glans penis to the inner surface of the foreskin. If the foreskin – the skin covering the glans penis – is pulled back and a man feels pressure, the problem is almost certainly present.
Also, when a man has an erection and notices that the underside of the penis “pulls” the glans penis downward, it’s very likely that this condition is present. Some only notice it because they feel pain during intercourse. It’s estimated that up to 50% of this type of pain is due to a short frenulum on the glans penis.
The function of the frenulum is to return the retracted foreskin to its normal position when the penis is in a state of flaccidity. On the other hand, it’s also an erogenous zone that’s very sensitive. Also, it facilitates the sexual act, since it allows the displacement of the foreskin.
The reasons for the short frenulum on the glans are the following:
- Genetic or congenital causes: This means that it’s present from birth and has to do with the inheritance of genes.
- Genital infections: These cause inflammation and cause the area to thicken. This is known as fibrosis, and leads to the shortening of the frenulum tissue.
- Rupture of the frenulum: If this occurs and doesn’t heal properly, it leads to shortening of this area of the skin, resulting in a short frenulum on the glans penis.
A short frenulum on the glans as such isn’t considered a disease, but an alteration. The problem is that it causes discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse. Likewise, it doesn’t allow for thorough intimate hygiene, which favors infections.
This anatomical problem increases the risk of the frenulum tearing. If this happens, there’s pain and bleeding, although it’s not considered a medical emergency. The point is that it can lead to complications that will require professional treatment.
Sometimes, the pain is so intense during sexual intercourse that the man is forced to abstain from intercourse and even masturbation. This can have significant psychosocial effects on a person.
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The symptoms of short frenulum on the glans penis
In most cases, a short frenulum on the glans penis is due to genetic causes. It’s present at birth and then becomes increasingly evident with development. It’s most commonly detected during puberty, and the main symptom is a shooting pain that occurs when attempting to retract the foreskin.
This pain becomes evident when there’s an erection, or during masturbation and sexual intercourse. Many times, the forced tension causes this area of the skin to crack, resulting in itching and irritation of the foreskin.
The physician in charge of diagnosing and treating a short frenulum on the glans is typically a specialist in urology. He or she will be able to detect this anomaly from a physical examination. Depending on the case, he or she will indicate the most appropriate treatment.
There’s no way to prevent a short frenulum on the glans penis. Therefore, this condition can only be solved with treatment. In milder cases, conservative management – i.e. without surgery – is usually used.
This treatment consists of gentle stretching of the frenulum, repeatedly, several times a day. The objective is to increase the elasticity of the tissue, while reducing its inflammation and thickness. It’s indicated to do the exercises for four to six weeks.
It’s possible that the previous treatment is complemented with the use of corticosteroid creams. If no results are achieved after the indicated time, surgery is usually performed.
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Surgery for a short frenulum on the glans penis
There are several types of procedures that can be performed to correct the short frenulum on the glans penis. The most common is a surgery called “frenuloplasty.” This takes about 30 minutes and can be done in the urologist’s office under local anesthesia.
In this type of surgery, a cross-section of the frenulum is made with the penis stretched. This allows the tension to be removed. It’s performed with a cold or electric scalpel. At the end, a suture is made and the area is wrapped with gauze, often impregnated with antibiotic substances.
Another surgical option is a frenulectomy, which consists of removing the frenulum completely. This removes the tension and solves the problem. Circumcision, a procedure in which the distal foreskin covering the glans is removed, can also be performed. This contains the frenulum and also resolves the abnormality.
CareA short frenulum on the glans often causes pain during masturbation and sexual intercourse.
Oral analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly prescribed after surgery to treat pain. Antibiotics aren’t usually prescribed. It’s recommended that the patient keeps his pelvis elevated while using a dressing or tight underwear.
If slight bleeding occurs, it’s indicated to make a clamp with the index finger and thumb by squeezing the area for a few minutes. A clean gauze pad should be used for this purpose. It’s also important to perform daily hygiene with water and neutral soap. It’s usually recommended to make a cure every day with povidone-iodine.
The patient should avoid sexual intercourse or masturbation in the next month after surgery. If there is severe pain, heavy bleeding, or signs of infection, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
If you suspect you have a short glans frenulum, consult your doctor
Many men are apprehensive about surgery as a means of correcting a short glans frenulum. However, it’s an excellent option. It’s not a complicated procedure and solves the problem for good.
It’s important that the diagnosis of short glans frenulum be made by a physician. Very often, this alteration is confused with phimosis, which is a different condition. However, sometimes both problems coexist. In any case, the best thing to do is to go to a specialist.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Valerio, V., & Anibal, J. (2019, January). Dispareunia masculina. In Anales de la Facultad de Medicina (Vol. 80, No. 1, pp. 79-85). UNMSM. Facultad de Medicina.