The vast majority of males who are circumcised undergo the procedure in infancy or childhood. However, because of recent research that points to certain health benefits, adults are increasingly opting for surgical ablation of the foreskin. This is a decision that men should make based on accurate information and the recommendations of a qualified urologist. Understanding the why’s and how’s of circumcision may help men to decide whether the surgery is for them, as well as how to plan for penis care after the operation and in the future.
Reasons for circumcision
Phimosis/paraphimosis – When the foreskin is so tight that it will not retract easily over the penis (phimosis) or when it becomes trapped behind the head of the penis (paraphimosis), complications can occur, including painful sex and/or loss of circulation. While there are other means to treat this problem, men with ongoing issues may opt to simply have the foreskin removed.
Penile cancer – Due to evidence that a foreskin increases the risk for penile cancer, men who are in high-risk categories for the disease, or who have already developed cancerous cells on the foreskin, may undergo circumcision as a medical necessity.
STDs – The foreskin offers a great deal more surface area, as well as a warm, moist environment, that is ideal for incubating disease-causing organisms. Men who are uncut may be more prone to ulcers, chlamydia, herpes and other sexually transmitted infections than men who have been cut.
HIV/AIDS – Research in Africa has shown that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 50% - a fact which in itself makes the procedure worth considering in at-risk populations. However, circumcision alone cannot offer complete protection, so men who have it done will still need to take appropriate precautions.
Cosmetic preference – Finally, there are men who choose to be circumcised just because they think it looks better, or because they are concerned that the loose skin and the tendency to accumulate material underneath it may be off-putting to potential partners.
What to expect during the procedure
Before men undergo circumcision, they should make sure they are fully informed about what to expect, both beforehand and after surgery. Here are the general procedures that will be followed:
- He will have a full physical examination to ensure that he is healthy enough to withstand surgery and can tolerate the anesthesia;
- An anesthesiologist will administer either a local or general anesthetic;
- The surgeon will pull the foreskin down over the head of the penis fully and remove it with a specialized tool;
- Dissolvable sutures will be applied to close the incision;
- A dressing will be applied to the area to keep it clean;
- Following a recovery period, the patient will be able to go home.
- Some bruising, swelling and penis pain may occur and may be controlled with prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers (if bleeding, fever, or extreme pain occur, the patient should seek medical attention;
- The patient will be advised on how to clean the area and should follow these procedures as directed.
Maintaining long-term penis health
Once the sutures have healed and the swelling and bruising have gone down, a man can begin to enjoy his new, sleeker look, as well as easing his way back into activities like masturbation and sex. In some cases, men may find that their penis is not quite as sensitive as it used to be. While most studies have found little difference in sensitivity between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis, this problem is mostly in the eye of the beholder, so taking steps to make sure that the newly exposed skin is healthy and responsive is an important concern.
While cleaning the penis will now be easier, keeping the glans moisturized and supple may be a different story. As a result, adding a moisturizer that is appropriate for use on the penis can be a good idea. A vitamin-rich penis nutrient creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that contains natural plant oils such as Shea butter or jojoba is a simple and effective way to nourish the skin of the entire penis, as well as locking in moisture and supporting optimum cellular function.