Frenulum Breve (Short Frenulum)

On an uncircumcised penis, the frenulum is the fold of skin that connects the head of the penis (glans) to the foreskin. Frenulum breve is when that fold of skin is too short and tight. It can cause painful, uncomfortable erections, but treatment can help.


What is frenulum breve?

Frenulum breve is a penile disorder. Also known as short frenulum, it’s when the skin fold that connects the head of the penis (glans) to the underside of the foreskin is too short. The purpose of the frenulum is to allow the foreskin to draw back over the glans. If the frenulum is too short, it pulls on the foreskin and causes pain or discomfort.


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Symptoms and Causes

How do I know if I have frenulum breve?

The most common signs and symptoms of frenulum breve are:

  • Discomfort or pain in the penis, especially during an erection.
  • Premature ejaculation.
  • Tearing and bleeding underneath the head of the penis.
  • Trouble pulling back the foreskin.

What causes frenulum breve?

Most people who have frenulum breve are born with it (congenital). Sometimes, frenulum breve can happen because of other penile disorders.


Are there other conditions associated with frenulum breve?

Yes. Other conditions can cause uncomfortable tightening of the frenulum:

  • Balanitis, a swelling of the head of the penis.
  • Balanoposthitis, inflammation of the foreskin and the head of the penis.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as some STDs can cause balanitis, which can then cause frenulum breve.
  • Skin diseases, since a skin condition affecting the penis can cause inflammation and swelling, which can tighten the frenulum.

What’s the difference between frenulum breve and phimosis?

Healthcare providers sometimes misdiagnose frenulum breve as phimosis because they both share common symptoms. Both are penis health problems. Phimosis is when the foreskin is too tight to pull back, but it does not involve a short frenulum.


Diagnosis and Tests

How do healthcare providers confirm a diagnosis of frenulum breve?

Your healthcare provider can diagnose short frenulum through a physical examination.

Management and Treatment

Should the frenulum be removed?

Removing the frenulum depends on the severity of your condition and your healthcare provider’s recommendation. There are treatment options that don’t require frenulum removal.

What are the treatments for frenulum breve?

There are several treatment methods for short frenulum. The one that is right for you depends on how severe the condition is. Your provider may recommend stretching exercises and steroid creams.

If frenulum breve home treatments don’t work, your provider may recommend an outpatient procedure, including:

  • Frenuloplasty.
  • Penile frenulectomy.
  • “Pull and burn” method.
  • Circumcision.

What happens during the procedures for frenulum breve?

Here’s what you can expect during the outpatient procedures for frenulum breve. For each procedure, your healthcare provider gives you anesthesia before the procedure, so you won’t feel any pain.


During a frenuloplasty, your provider:

  1. Gives you local anesthesia (numbing medicine), or general anesthesia (which puts you to sleep).
  2. Makes small cuts in the frenulum.
  3. Uses dissolvable stitches to repair the frenulum lengthwise, which subtly increases its length.

Since frenuloplasty is an outpatient procedure, you usually go home the same day. You may have slight discomfort in the incision area for two to three days, but over-the-counter pain relievers can help. Follow steps for incision care. The area should heal within 10 days.

Penile Frenulectomy

During a penile frenulectomy, your provider:

  1. Gives you anesthesia (usually local).
  2. Cuts and removes the frenulum to prevent the painful tightening it causes.


During circumcision, your provider:

  1. Gives you local anesthesia (numbing medicine) or general anesthesia (puts you to sleep).
  2. Surgically removes the foreskin from the penis.

Circumcision is most common among baby boys, but teenagers and adult men can have the procedure done, too. For frenulum breve, circumcision completely removes the foreskin and frenulum to prevent painful tightening.

When can I resume sexual intercourse after frenulum breve treatment?

After treatment, recovery takes about four to six weeks. Avoid sexual intercourse during that time so the wound can heal. This also helps you avoid infection.

Can I cut my frenulum at home?

No. Do not attempt a penile frenulectomy at home. Cutting the frenulum on your own may not fix the problem. It can even make it worse. Any scar tissue that forms can keep the frenulum short and tight. For the best results, talk to your healthcare provider.

How do I loosen my frenulum?

Only do frenulum stretches under the direction and guidance of your healthcare provider. If directed to do so, gently stretch the frenulum for a few minutes each day. A lubricant or hot shower can help loosen the skin during the stretches.

What if my frenulum tears?

Sometimes, pulling a short frenulum creates a tear. When this happens, it can bleed and cause severe pain. If you think your frenulum is torn, follow these tips:

  • Use over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Wash and bandage the area.
  • Keep it clean and avoid sex until it heals.
  • See your healthcare provider if it doesn’t heal on its own or becomes red or inflamed.


How can I prevent frenulum breve?

You can’t prevent congenital cases of frenulum breve. Circumcision at birth eliminates frenulum breve.

You can do your best to avoid penile disorders that lead to frenulum breve:

  • Keep your penis clean and wash it regularly, especially under the foreskin.
  • Use a condom to practice safe sex and avoid STDs.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have frenulum breve?

Frenulum breve is usually uncomfortable or even painful, especially during sex. If you have this condition, erections and sex may be difficult or unpleasant. You don’t have to live with it — there are many successful treatment options. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best next steps.

What is the outlook for frenulum breve?

For those seeking treatment for frenulum breve, the outlook is good. Procedures like frenuloplasty are routine and highly successful.

Living With

What questions should I ask my doctor about frenulum breve?

Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about any questions or concerns you have. Consider asking your provider:

  • What can I do at home to reduce my pain or discomfort?
  • How do you plan to treat frenulum breve?
  • What are the side effects of that treatment?
  • What should I expect on the day of the procedure?
  • How will I feel after frenulum breve treatment?
  • How often should I have follow-up checkups?

Does frenulum breve affect penis sensation?

No, frenulum breve should not affect penis sensation (feeling).

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Frenulum breve is when the skin connecting the head of the penis to the foreskin is too tight. That tightness can cause painful erections and make sexual intercourse unpleasant. Several treatments can fix frenulum breve. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which treatment is best for you.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 06/14/2022.

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