Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin to reveal the head of the penis. Circumcision has been around for a very long time can even be traced back to ancient world civilizations as far back as 1576 BC. The practice of circumcision is very common among newborns in the United States because of the health benefits associated with the practice. However, recently there has been a debate on whether being circumcised is necessary. Before declaring a stance on this somewhat private and public health issue, it is important to know the facts surrounding the practice of circumcision.
Circumcision has many pros and cons to consider when trying to determine whether this surgical procedure is necessary.
Pros of Circumcision
Increases Sexual Satisfaction
Circumcision can increase the pleasure and sexual satisfaction you feel during sex. A research study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine examined the relationship between circumcision and increased sexual pleasure. This study followed up on the progress of men who recently underwent circumcision over a period of 6-24 months after the procedure. The research reported that of the 454 circumcised men, 67% of them enjoyed sex more after being circumcised. The men reported a significant decrease in sex-induced injuries after the procedure as well.
Lessens Risks of Having a Urinary Tract Infection
Circumcision can also reduce your risks of being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. A research study published by the Disease in Childhood journal showed a direct correlation between circumcision and being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. The research shows that babies who are circumcised are 90% less likely to be diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. The removal of the foreskin eliminates the chance of bad bacteria festering in the folds of the foreskin and potentially moving the bacteria into the penis, thus creating a urinary tract infection. Research shows that babies who are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection are more likely to develop kidney problems as adults.
Reduces Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections
Circumcision reduces your risk of being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. A research study published in 2016 b by the Clinical Microbiology and Infection journal examines the effect of circumcision on numerous sexually transmitted infections. The research shows that circumcision has reduced the risks of being diagnosed with HIV. In the study, the circumcisions prevented 17 of HIV cases over a period of 2 years per 1000 men, which results in a 2.5% reduction in the yearly HIV acquisition rate. The study also looked at human papillomavirus, mycoplasma syphilis and herpes simplex virus and all showed a reduction in the spread and acquisition of these sexually transmitted infections.
Reduced Penile Cancer Risks
Although penile cancer is not very prevalent in America’s society today, circumcision helps to reduce your risk of being diagnosed with penile cancer. Penile cancer occurs in about 1 in ever 100,00 in the United States with a survival rate of 65% in 5 years. Studies show that it is very rare to see men who are circumcised diagnosed with penile cancer. Additionally, in third world countries were circumcisions are not practiced as frequently, penile cancer makes up between 10 to 20% of cancer cases in men.
Prevents Phimosis, Paraphimosis, and Balanitis
Having your penis circumcised can reduce your risks of developing painful infections and inflammation in the genital area. Circumcision prevents phimosis and paraphimosis. Phimosis is the inability to retract the foreskin, which can cause harmful bacteria to fester underneath the foreskin. While paraphimosis is the inability to pull the retracted foreskin back down, which can be very painful and hinder the urine and flow of blood to the penis. Research studies also report that men who are circumcised have a significant decrease in being diagnosed with balanitis, which is the inflammation of the glans of the penis.
Cons of Circumcision
Increased Risk of Meatitis and Inflammation
Circumcising your penis can place you at an increased risk of developing meatitis. Meatitis is the inflammation of the meatus, which is the opening of the penis. Circumcision increases the risk of having meatitis as the opening of the penis is exposed and is more susceptible to chafing and irritation in comparison to men who are not circumcised and have the foreskin as a barrier of protection.
The process of circumcision usually occurs during a child first few months of life. However, if circumcision is completed as an adult, this can cause the patient to endure more pain and even inflammation during the healing process as adults are more mobile than babies.
Like any other surgery, undergoing a circumcision procedure has many complications. Some of the complications of the surgical procedure include bleeding, infection, inclusion cysts, phimosis, urinary retention, necrosis of the penis and many more. These complications very rare, due to the advancement of medical technology, medicine and hygienic procedures implemented during the procedure itself and the healing process.
Deciding whether to have a circumcision is a huge decision that affects your genital hygiene, sexual health, and health of your sexual partners. It is important to talk to your doctor about the surgical procedure to gain as much information as possible before completing the procedure. Whether circumcisions are necessary is a procedural decision that each man will have to make for themselves but what is important is ensuring your genital and sexual health.