Circumcision has been practised for centuries by many people around the world for a multitude of reasons. This makes it a hugely debatable issue.
During circumcision, the foreskin is held out, cut with a knife and a new edge is sewn shut, right below the rim of the penis head. Adults are given an anaesthetic, a privilege that is not always extended to infants. The skin which is sewn shut becomes ‘tough’ or ‘keratinized’ making it more impervious to infections.
The risks associated with circumcision include:
.Risk of bleeding
.Infection at the site of the circumcision
.Irritation of the glans
.Increased risk of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis)
.Risk of injury to the penis.
Some studies indicate that uncircumcised men are at increased risk for
This is due to the fact that the foreskin covers a mucus membrane that is easier for viruses and bacteria to infect. However, it is important to remember that STI’s are better prevented by condoms, than anything else. But, circumcision can be helpful as a disease prevention method in places where HIV is rampant and condom compliance is low, like Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Circumcision has also been shown to reduce the chance of certain conditions occurring in female partners, like bacterial vaginosis, trichonomoniasis and cervical cancer.
Uncircumcised men can also suffer from painful conditions like ‘Phimosis’, ‘Paraphimosis’ and ‘Balanitis’. Research also suggests that circumcised boys are around 10 times less likely to catch a UTI than uncircumcised boys. In both cases, if the issue isn’t resolved in a few hours, it may require circumcision.
However, with good hygiene, safe-sex practices and regular medical check-ups, circumcision isn’t necessary. In fact, The American Medical Association (AMA) says that while there are potential medical benefits, the current data, “are not sufficient to recommend routine [infant] circumcision.”