Uncut facts about foreskin removal.
In a nutshell
- Circumcision involves the removal of the hood of loose skin that houses the penis head.
- It's a straightforward surgical procedure, often carried out in early childhood (estimated at one in six males worldwide) for medical or religious reasons.
- It may also be an option for adult males who are unable to roll back the foreskin (a condition known as phimosis). In many cases, however, gentle stretching can resolve the problem.
- Circumcision may also be in order for cases of paraphimosis, in which the foreskin is effectively stuck behind the penis head
- Another adult foreskin problem that may require circumcision is called balanitis, in which the foreskin thickens and becomes uncomfortable.
- In the UK, circumcisions are not undertaken for cosmetic reasons. So long as you keep it clean, washing under the bonnet with warm water as part of your regular hygiene routine, there's no reason to live without it.
- Being circumcised does not protect against STIs. Only condoms can reduce that risk.
- Some circumcised men report increased sensitivity during sex, because the penis head is exposed. Many others report no change.
- An adult circumcision is usually carried out under local anaesthetic (which means the patient is conscious throughout).
- The foreskin is cut away, using one of several surgical methods, and the incision stitched. A sterile dressing may then be applied.
- The patient may also be prescribed over-the-counter painkillers to manage any discomfort for a few days.
- The freshly-exposed penis head may be sore or sensitive for some time.
- Sex is discouraged until the stitches have been removed (often a week after the procedure) and any pain has subsided.
If you're at all concerned about your foreskin, get it checked out with your GP or local GUM clinic. Don't just hope things will improve. It won't ease your worries, but will simply make things worse.
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