Hello there Davo.
Your description is certainly of classical phimosis, what is called "secondary" phimosis, as it evidently wasn't there to start with; you apparently had a normally functioning foreskin. It also follows that it has a cause
, though exactly what that is in this particular condition, is somewhat of a "black art". The point is, that doctors in general don't seem to know much about what is really
going on in this condition, and I am sure that most doctors would consider what you describe to have all the hallmarks of "LSA" or "Lichen Sclerosis et Atrophicus", often given the "sexist" name of "BXO" (Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans) - and I say "sexist" as you see the condition is in fact, rather more common in women
Jim has indicated that your problem is likely a yeast or fungal infection. The trick is, this is often hard to determine; it is actually difficult to test for - partly because the yeast is relatively common even when it does not
cause a problem. So, treating firstly for yeast, with a proprietary antifungal and the dietary measures he suggests, is certainly a good initial step.
While on the one hand, we advise patience, I do feel that you are entitled to some expectation of improvement within a reasonable
timeframe. If therefore, things do not improve with those measures, then I think you perhaps should
proceed to get help from a competent doctor.
Note however, that I "threw in" a little adjective there - you need to see a doctor with competence
in treating LSA, which is most
unlikely to be a "urologist" - you need to see either a dermatologist, or a General Practitioner (or "Family Physician") with experience in that field. It's not actually all that difficult, but if whichever doctor it is, starts making suggestions that sound like circumcision, then you immediately know he (or she) has "lost the plot" and is giving you the run-around.
for LSA is a potent
steroid in ointment form. Again, if the doctor indicates that certain such steroids are "too strong" to use in this area, then they don't know about treatment of LSA, because it involves selection of the most
potent, generally a "fluorinated" steroid. I have made comments on which one, and why an ointment, before, and invite you refer to those comments, as I trust you would have seen them here.
Such principles will
be known to a genuinely competent dermatologist - you use the most
potent steroid, applied to exactly
the affected area and no other, until the condition settles (which would be while you are achieving stretching), and for just a little longer, then stop using it, but keep it to re-apply for a shorter period if the problem appears to start again.
Because the steroid suppresses your natural immune protection against yeasts and fungi, there certainly is a rationale for using the antifungal (or even the "high-powered" oral version) whilst using it.
In short, you certainly realise at this point that the problem is non-trivial to sort out, and whilst it might be nice to hope it could be done without reference to a doctor, I think it might be worth the effort and trauma of finding a doctor with the necessary competence - which may indeed, not be easy (for the USA, there are as I understand, some lists of such doctors published by "NOCIRC" or other such groups).
You are possibly aware that the circlip pliers you reference are very similar indeed, to the "glansie" device you will find advertised in the Google syndicated advertising on this site and many others mentioning circumcision. As long as they do not contain nickel
, they probably work quite well, though the use of plastic "grommet" devices - or as you note, your fingers - is probably just as effective and more convenient.
The "cheesy" stuff is called "smegma". Women get plenty of it too (as I just reminded myself at work today!).
Please do not
use "antiseptic" creams (or indeed, soaps or detergents), particularly on your genitals. I won't mention brand-names, but they figure all to often when we encounter women with really weird and difficult-to-treat chronic genital irritations, and take a while to figure out (because it doesn't come naturally to mind for us) just what they are doing ...