Hi. I've been reading extensively about this now, and feel I have a pretty good hold on most of the research, but I have a few questions I thought you guys might help me with.
First some background:
I didn't know I had a tight foreskin until I was ~21 years old (I'm 28 now) as I've always been able to retract it even when erect, just with some discomfort.
When retracting it got stuck behind the glans and constricted this part of the shaft when erect, usually causing me to lose the erection and then the foreskin would automatically pull forwards again.
When masturbating I never pulled the foreskin back this far, just massaged the glans through the skin.
I'm unable to use condoms due to the foreskin rolling up again inside the condom, thus leaving me without any effective stimulation. Even without condoms I'm usually unable to orgasm from sex alone except once in a blue moon due to the constriction/foreskin rolling up, but not going back down over the glans.
Anyways, after discovering this was not how it was supposed to work I started stretching it without really reading anything about the issue.
I can't say I had much success, but I kept at it and found more information online and adapted my methods. I even started using a plastic dongle I found which I wore inserted under the foreskin for prolonged periods.
As I read I quickly figured out I had a severly short frenulum in addition to the constricting foreskin ("relative phimosis" unless I'm mistaken). I tried stretching it unsuccessfully for a long time (~2 years) without any results at all, going so far as to rip it a few times towards the end (I was getting frustrated). I then stumbled upon a method of cutting it by tying it with a string. I did this twice as the first one didn't cut it deep enough. I have to say I had an extremely good result.
The sensitivity didn't change at all, and I have no scar tissue/lumps etc which I saw some people get.
I don't recommend doing this yourself though. It has risks if you're not sure what you're doing. I did it because I'm trained in a medically-related profession and I have at least a decent idea of what I was doing+access to the correct and sterile instruments.
But onwards with the story. The frenulum seems to have been the worst of my problems, it probably made the phimosis worse due to it pulling on the "ring" which constricts my shaft when pulling back the foreskin, thus making it seem even tighter than it is now. I can now pull my foreskin further down the shaft without the frenulum hurting, and it seems to be slightly wider due to the lessened "pull" from the frenulum.
BUT, the ring still remains in unaltered shape. Now about 7 years of on/off stretching, the last three or four of them with several stints of 5-8 weeks of stretching with 0,05%, then 0,1% betamethasone ointment (I also tried some OTC corticosteroid for a short time, but I can't recall the name).
So. The questions:
Am I correct in thinking 8 weeks continuously is the safe limit for using steroid ointments to avoid skin thinning and other issues?
Is there another or stronger steroid I can try, my doc will probably prescribe me pretty much whatever I want in this regard so that's no issue.
Is there an alternative way of applying it? I think I once found an article talking about injecting steroids directly into the relevant scar tissue (which I assume the phimotic ring structure is) to loosen it. If you have a link to this or similar science a link would be great as I can't find the one I'm referring to. Is this an option for me?
Will widening the phimotic ring stop the foreskin from automatically pulling forwards/covering the glans again? Or is this action still related to the frenulum, which exerts force, just much less so now? (it still slips forwards automatically and in 80% of cases prevents me from orgasm from intercourse alone. It's just easier now to pull it back under the glans again without too much discomfort)
Is what I have LS? When I've been looking at images it seems LS usually presents with more skin color change, whereas I only have a thin thin ring (3-4mm thick) encircling the shaft about 0.5-1cm below the ridged band (when stretched as far down as possible).
This looks like me, except my white band is thinner and a bit less pronounced:http://www.male-initiation.net/library/gallery/relative/relative.html
and this page describes pretty much how the constriction works on me:http://www.male-initiation.net/phimosis_research.html
I know you're against surgery no matter what, I am too for the most part, and I'm even active in a national anti-circ organization in the country I'm from. From your responses to other posts about this issue I get the distinct feeling you're hesitant to even broach the issue of surgery on the boards (which I understand in most cases as it's "giving up" and also sends the wrong message).
However I'd still love your input on the matter as you seem knowledgable about the issue at hand. In other words I'd greatly appreciate a real reply about this with your input, not just a "surgery isn't an option"-thing, as for me, surgery is now a real option.
Me and my wife are thinking of having children, which means being able to orgasm from intercourse on a regular basis would be kind of essential :P
If I elect for surgery, the most conservative and successful approach I've found seems to be lateral preputioplasty. Pretty much the same as a normal preputionplasty (dorsal slit with transverse closure), but the incisions are made laterally on both sides to even out the cosmetic result. (http://www.cirp.org/library/treatment/phimosis/south1/
Are there other alteratives you can think of that I should consider?
Should I get some kind of test to see if it's LS before surgery?
What are the chances of re-tightening in different conservative treatment options?
Is it possible to have a minimal-type circumcision that removes the band of whitish tissue without removing the ridged band? (Again, when pulled back completely the white ring ends up about 0.5-1cm below the ridged band, but I have no clue if there are adhesions between inner/outer foreskin that makes a cut to remove this impossible, maybe you know?)
Thanks for any replies, especially if you find me a solution that works without involving strangers with scalpels near my privates.