What Is Circumcision And What Are Its Side Effects?

Circumcision surgery

All About Circumcision

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin, which is a tissue covering the glans penis. It is mostly done due to religious practices.

It is a cultural norm in Islamic communities, Jewish communities, few parts of Africa for new-born boys.


 Mostly circumcision is done due to religious reasons but in some conditions, it is also done due to medical intervention. In cases of foreskin being too tight even to pull back, then foreskin needs to be removed. It is also done to prevent STDs (Sexually transmitted disease)

However, circumcision is an optional procedure for infants.

Circumcision for elder males is only done on a medical requirement basis. Conditions where the foreskin can’t retract, infections, inflammation, frequent UTIs, or even due to tight foreskin.


Local or general anesthesia is given either in injections or as creams. A bell-shaped apparatus is placed under the foreskin, after which the foreskin is cut off from the penis using a surgical scalpel.

Circumcision can also be done using tissue glues or dissolving sutures.


It takes around 7-10 days for the penis to heal and the penis might be swollen initially. For new-borns, it is okay to change bandages every time you change their diapers.

Frequently change a baby diaper and ensure that the diaper is not tight. Ensure to get a loose diaper.

You can wash the penis as it continues to heal. After complete healing, you can use soap, just like normal

If there is a ring instead of a bandage, it will drop off on its own.

Applying ointment or petroleum jelly before draping bandage


1. Decreased chances of contracting UTI:

UTI or Urinary tract infection in males is low but the chances of contracting a UTI is more for an Uncircumcised male than circumcised males.

2. Decreased chances of STDs:

Circumcised males have a low probability of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, etc as per a study conducted in 2017. Enough though the probability is low, it is still a must to have safe sex.

3. Decreased chances of penile cancer:

Circumcised men have a low probability of penis cancer. The chances of penis cancer are also generally low.

4. Hygiene:

Circumcision makes it easy to maintain the penis and wash it properly. The uncircumcised penis needs more care and if not washed regularly, it can cause smegma to build up. 

Smegma is the dead skin, trapped oil, bacteria, etc which cause a foul smell and often lead to balanitis.

5. Eliminate balanitis and phimosis: 

Balanitis and phimosis cause inflammation and infections. Foreskin cant is retracted i.e, pulled back in the case of phimosis, and is common in boys till the age of 3. Balanitis is swelling of the foreskin, it is not a serious condition and can be cured with medication.

6. Decreases risk of cervical cancer in partners:

A circumcised male’s women partner has lesser chances of getting cancer as per a study. It also reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HPV, Herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, etc.

Myths Regarding Circumcision

Sexual satisfaction: it is believed that circumcision can decrease sexual satisfaction due to the loss of nervous systems in that area. But a study conducted on 40,000 men, indicates circumcision does not negatively affect sexual functions or satisfaction.

Side Effects or Possible Risks

The foreskin may be cut too long or too short.

If not done properly, the foreskin can reattach, which later require another minor surgery

Other complications which might occur in the case of circumcision are

  • Pain
  • irritation
  • Bleeding
  • Narrowing of meatus 
  • Infection
  • Meatitis (inflammation at the opening of the penis)

Take Away 

Circumcised or uncircumcised do not usually impact sexual performance or satisfaction. Circumcision helps in keeping infections and few diseases at bay.

Circumcision is an optional procedure usually done to infants but could be done to adults if it is required medically.

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