Circumcision has been practiced for centuries by many people around the world for a multitude of reasons. And 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 anesthetic, a privilege that is not always extended to infants. The skin that is sewn shut becomes “tough” or “keratinized,” making it more impervious to infections.
What Are The Risks Associated With Circumcision?
- 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
What Risks Do Uncircumcised Men Face?
All the risks are due to the fact that the foreskin covers a mucus membrane that is easier for viruses and bacteria to infect.
- Genital herpes
NOTE: It is important to remember that STIs are better prevented by condoms than anything else.
Uncircumcised men can also suffer from painful conditions like phimosis, paraphimosis, and balanitis. Studies have also suggested that circumcised boys are around 10 times less likely to catch a UTI than uncircumcised boys. However, if the issue isn’t resolved in a few hours, both cases may require circumcision.
Circumcision has also been shown to reduce the chance of certain conditions occurring in female partners, like bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and cervical cancer.
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. 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.”