Is Circumcision Good or Bad - Here's How to Find Out

In This Article

Is Circumcision Good or Bad - Here's How to Find Out

Indu

Indu

Updated on December 14, 2023

Medically verified by Dr. Arya

Fact checked by Sreemoyee

Urology

8 min read

You might have heard about Circumcision. It is a common traditional practice among several religions. But did you know, it can deal with certain disorders and comes with a handful of health benefits too?

For those who are wondering whether Circumcision is good or bad, Mykare Health is here to decode that for you. We will tell you what happens during a Circumcision surgery and why it is done. To help you make an informed choice.

What exactly happens during a circumcision surgery? To get into that, we need to first know about the foreskin.

Foreskin is the skin that covers the head of your penis. This gets loosened up when one grows physically.

Sometimes the foreskin remains too tight. This causes you pain and distress. That’s why you need to remove the foreskin through a surgery. This surgery is known as Circumcision.

Some people do it because of their religious and cultural beliefs. For example, Jews, Muslims, and some tribal groups in Africa and Australia.

But some go through the process of circumcision because of medical reasons too.

Here, we will discuss both the risks and the benefits involved with circumcision.

Origin, Religious & Cultural Background of Circumcision

If we take into consideration the historical evidence, circumcision existed in Egypt during 2300 BC itself. It also existed among other semitic groups of the middle east.

Jewish people circumcise their baby boys just 8 days after their birth.

One of the largest religious groups which practise circumcision otherwise known as ‘Tahera’ is Islam. They get circumcised anytime between their birth and their puberty.

According to Islam, circumcision is done to confirm the relationship between them and The God.

Some christian denominations of Ethiopia and Egypt too, practice circumcision.

If we consider circumcision as a cultural practice, it exists among various ethnic groups of Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Americas, Philippines, some Pacific and Polynesian Islands, and Indonesia. Most of them consider it as a rite of passage to manhood.

Medical Reasons for Circumcision

What’s the medical relevance of Circumcision apart from its religious and cultural significance?

If statistics are to be believed, around 33 % male of the world undergo circumcision. And quite a lot of them opt for it for some or the other medical reasons.

Here’s why you may need to go for Circumcision, medically.

Tight Foreskin or Phimosis

Usually, foreskin (skin that covers the head of the penis), can be retracted or pulled back. Sometimes it becomes too tight to be retracted.

When this happens, it causes pain during erection. Sometimes, you might experience pain while peeing.

Paraphimosis

At times, after pulling back (retraction), you may find it difficult to return it to its original position. This condition is called Paraphimosis.

Paraphimosis makes the head of the penis swollen and painful.

Recurrent Balanitis

This is the situation where your foreskin and the head of the penis become infected and inflamed.

This condition causes pain and swelling of the penis.

Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans

A condition where white inflammatory patches occur on your penis and the head of the penis.

This condition can result in phimosis.

Penile Cancer

This is a very rare kind of cancer. It can affect the penis or foreskin.

An ulcer appears on the penis head or the foreskin. Sometimes there are changes in the foreskin or penis skin.

Other symptoms include bleeding or discharge.

For all the above mentioned medical conditions, Circumcision is one of the treatment options.

Benefits of Circumcision

Though still a subject of debate, there are some generally accepted benefits for circumcision. They are listed below :-

  • With circumcision it becomes easier to clean the penis. But some people will say that it is just an over the top thing to do. According to them, one can clean their own penis, without the surgery option. Well, not everyone follows a good hygiene practice.

  • Chances of getting urinary tract infection (UTI) can be reduced with circumcision surgery. UTI’s are very rare in men, but it sometimes happens with uncircumcised men.

  • Circumcision reduces your(men) chance of getting sexually transmitted infections (STI).

  • Medical conditions related to penis, like phimosis, as we explained earlier, can be eliminated by circumcision.

  • Penile cancer or cancer in penis are less likely to happen to circumcised men.

  • If a man is circumcised, chances of his female sex partner getting cervical cancer is very low.

Know more about cost of circumcision surgery

Arguments against Circumcision

Though there are some potential advantages, there are risks as well, associated with circumcision.

Following are some the arguments against circumcision :-

  • We already know that young boys and babies undergo circumcision. Sometimes this is done as a part of the religion or culture they are born into.

There are benefits for this kind of circumcision. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, they are not great enough to outweigh risks associated with it.

Also since babies don't have a say in any of this, some people consider it as a violation of a child’s body autonomy.

  • We saw earlier that, in some cultures, it is seen as a rite of passage, or because they see foreskin as a feminine element of penis.

Undergoing circumcision because of cultural pressure, or to appear more masculine, is not a good enough reason.

  • Some people will argue that after circumcision, it would be so easy to clean their penis. But don't you think with or without circumcision, you need to clean your penis properly?

  • Sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by using condoms during sexual intercourse.

  • Though a medical procedure, it has risks and complications associated with it as well :-

  1. Pain and discomfort, during and after the surgery.

  2. Infection which might result in inflammation and discomfort.

  3. Sometimes bleeding during or after circumcision could cause complications.

  4. Your penis might appear swollen and bruised after the procedure.

  5. There will be scar on the penis after the surgery. And for some people this might cause physiological and emotional distress.

  6. Depending on the expertise of the surgeon, the tissue removed could sometimes not be adequate and at other times excessive. This could create issues.

  7. Remaining foreskin might get re attached to the head of the penis. This again will lead to another hospital visit.

  • Results of studies related to circumcision are conflicting in nature, and it can vary between different regions and countries.

  • There aren't any conclusive enough studies to prove whether circumcision will affect sexual intercourse in a good or bad way.

  • Some people undergo circumcision because of family pressure, religious or cultural pressure. So, for them it is more about beliefs than medical evidence. That is not a good enough reason to undergo circumcision.

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How do you make a decision?

By now you might have understood that there are some benefits because of circumcision. There are also disadvantages and risks.

According to some people it is best to get circumcised. Because that way you can avoid many penis related problems and diseases.

Some others will argue that circumcision is not necessary because there would always be pressure from family, religion and culture.

So, what should you do? You should make informed decisions after carefully considering all the arguments and all your options.

Well here are a few things you can do to make an intelligent decision regarding circumcision:-

  • Gather as much information about Circumcision as you can.

But make sure that all this information is from believable sources like medical research papers, academic studies, guidelines by authorities etc.

  • Next step is to seek professional opinion from an expert (ie, a doctor). You have to clear all your doubts with them and we can help you connect with the best minds.

Your questions should include its benefits, its side effects, risk rate, success rate, and whether there is any other option besides the surgery.

  • Now you have some clarifications, and professional opinion on your side. You should weigh the pros and cons.

Consider whether you are making this decision because of the medical benefits associated with it or is it because of pressure from the family or cultural or religious pressure.

  • If you are making a decision for your child, make sure to discuss with all the relevant family members.

Make sure that circumcision is the only option and no other alternative treatment method, before going for it.

  • You can always go for a second opinion of another doctor.

  • If you are going for circumcision, be sure about its long term implications. Be sure about its implications on your physical appearance and emotional well being.

Key Takeaways

Foreskin is the skin that covers the head or the glans of the penis.

The process of surgically removing this foreskin is called circumcision.

There are many reasons for one to undergo circumcision.

Sometimes, the foreskin cannot be retracted or pulled back. This causes pain and irritation on your penis. This is one of the major reasons why people undergo circumcision.

There are other reasons as well.

Jewish people, Muslims, and some christian sects choose circumcision because of their religious belief.

Some tribal groups from different parts of the world do circumcision because of their cultural beliefs.

Circumcision has advantages as well as disadvantages.

Benefits include : Easier to clean the penis, Avoid sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, reduce the risk of penis cancer in men and cervical cancer in their partners. It is also a solution for many penis related medical conditions

Disadvantages or risks associated with circumcision are: It is done without consent on babies, studies related to circumcision are not conclusive, medical experts have different opinions, there are other ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections, wh

One needs to understand thoroughly about circumcision, seek professional opinion, and make an informed decision before choosing circumcision.

Also make sure that you are choosing circumcision not because of family pressure or cultural or religious beliefs.

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