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Circumcision is a technique used to remove the foreskin from the tip of the penis. There are various ways of circumcising people. Some are cultural and others are medical.

About Circumcision

There are several benefits associated with circumcision. Circumcision is a word borrowed from Latin. It was derived from the word circumcidere, which means “to cut around.” A male child is born with a loose skin that protects the head of the penis. This loose skin is called the foreskin. It is filled with nerves and blood vessels.

At birth, the foreskin and the penis are glued together. As the male child grows, the two begin to separate. This makes passing urine easier. The skin protecting the penis head also pulls back when a man has an erection.

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The Role of Foreskin

The following are the primary functions of the foreskin:

  • Protection – The foreskin covers and protects the head of a flaccid penis. This protects the penis head from coming in direct contact with abrasive agents such as clothing.
  • Sexual pleasure – The foreskin has a very high concentration of nerve endings. This provides pleasure during sexual intercourse.
  • Lubrication – The foreskin has a mucous membrane that lubricates the glans. This lubrication increases sensitivity and allows people to have a smooth sexual intercourse.
  • Immunological defense – The foreskin secretes anti-bacterial agents that may help to prevent infections.

Some men are not circumcised, and there are many factors to consider before people undergoing circumcision. Here are some of the reasons for people’s choices for or against circumcision:

  • Religious beliefs – Jews and Muslims practice circumcision. Some other religions do not have any law regarding circumcision and the final decision rests on the person.
  • Cultural beliefs – Some cultures require that all male should be circumcised. Some cultures circumcise the babies a few weeks after birth. Other cultures only allow the boys to be circumcised when they are in their late teens.
  • Social acceptance – Some people are only circumcised because their peers are circumcised. They get circumcised so that they can fit in.
  • Fear – Some men are not circumcised because they fear the surgery itself while others are wary of the possible side effects and risks associated with surgery. If you’ve been considering a circumcision for any reason, you may face some hesitance. You may have started searching online for information like “Where can I get a circumcision near me?” Many men have felt this way— it is normal.
  • Medical reasons – Circumcision reduces the risk of developing infections and a number of cancers.
  • Bleeding disorders – Men with bleeding disorders are advised not to undergo circumcision.
  • Having penis or skin problems – Some men have skin issues that require circumcision.
  • Partners – Some men have been circumcised because their partners asked to do so.

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The Benefits of Circumcision

Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections

There is a strong suggestion that circumcision helps to prevent the spreading of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. This is truer in sub-Saharan Africa where there are high rates of HIV. However, there is no evidence that circumcision can help reduce the spread of HIV in developed nations.

There are possible explanations as to why circumcision can help to reduce female to male HIV transmission. The skin of the penis has Langerhans cells which are the prime of HIV. Cutting the foreskin minimizes the chances of HIV reaching these cells.

Circumcision also prevents human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that affects men and women. Also, circumcision is believed to be able to prevent several other infections.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections

Boys aged two and below have a one percent risk of developing urinary tract infections. There is evidence that circumcising young boys reduces this risk.

The small hole (the urinary meatus) that the penis uses to pass urine outside the body is surrounded by a lot of bacteria with the potential to cause diseases. Circumcised boys have less of these diseases causing bacteria. Since urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria, circumcising young boys can go a long way in reducing the chances of having UTIs.


There is evidence that circumcision reduces men’s chance of developing prostate cancer.

Women’s Health

There is evidence that women who engage in sexual intercourse with circumcised men have a lower risk of developing cervical cancer, syphilis, HSV-2, chlamydia and cervical dysplasia.


Phimosis is a medical condition whereby the penis is stuck to a tight foreskin. Circumcised do not have any risk of suffering from phimosis.

How Circumcision Is Performed

Circumcision is a quick procedure which does not take much time. It can be done either at home or hospital after a baby is born. For adults, this is a procedure that can be performed as outpatient, and its cost may be covered by insurance. The removal of the foreskin is accompanied by the application of petroleum jelly on the wound. It is then bandaged.


Risks and Side Effects of Circumcision

There are a few side effects associated with circumcision:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding and infection
  • Meatitis or inflammation of the penis opening
  • Penis injury
  • Urethral blockage

A small section of the medical fraternity believes that circumcision takes away sexual sensitivity since foreskin plays an important role in male sexuality. According to some doctors, circumcision:

  • Deprives a man of the ridged band. This is highly sensitive area naturally designed to improve sexual pleasure for females.
  • Removes more than 20,000 specialized nerve endings that increase sexual sensitivity.
  • Results in scars what will always be visible.

Circumcision can be reversed, though not completely. It is achieved by the regeneration of the foreskin. This is done to bring back the lost sexual sensitivity. The foreskin is not regenerated per se, but rather, restored through several therapies.

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