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22 Common Questions About Circumcision

Fact checked by Dr.Rashid

Table of Contents

nmc illustration image of "22 Common Questions About Circumcision"
  1. What are the indications for circumcision?

Circumcision is performed to control or prevent several physiological conditions. The occurrence or signs of these conditions indicate the need for circumcision. They include:

Paraphimosis (physiological phimosis)– The inability of the foreskin to retract over the glans due to a narrowed opening

Balanitis – A condition resulting from too much fluid build-up in the gland or prepuce, causing a condition called oedema.

Preputial ‘pearls’ – A benign condition on the prepuce; the tight skin inhibits the excretion of the sebaceous secretion, and it becomes lodged in the prepuce. It causes pooling of urine and may require retracting the foreskin for easy flow.

Other may include;

  • Balanoposthitis
  • Getting rid of redundant foreskin
  • As a prevention measure of sexually transmitted infections
  • To prevent micro-trauma and frenular tearing among other isolated trauma incidences such as zipper, tear, rash, and crush injuries that may leave a scarred foreskin.
  • Reduced risk of penile cancer
  • Prevention of (Urinary Tract Infections) UTIs
  1. What does circumcision look like when healing?

Following successful circumcision, the glans penis may become red, swollen, and sour. It becomes sensitive, and one feels a pins-n-needles sensation when you touch the glans. That might cause the baby to become irritable and troubled. It’s entirely normal and may take about 7-10 days for the penis to heal completely.

Like any other wound, it is critical to ensure your baby’s circumcised penis is clean. Ensure you wash it and change the bandage with every diaper change. Before applying a new dressing, apply a moisturizing jelly to ensure it doesn’t stick to the diaper.

  1. What should I look out for after circumcision?

Although uncommon, an individual may develop complications following a successful circumcision. It is critical to be on the lookout for any abnormal signs. It would be best to take your child to the nearest ER whenever you notice excessive bleeding (usually indicated by blood drops larger than a dime on the diaper), fever, poor eating habits (that were not there before the surgery), pus draining from the incision, redness of the skin on the legs and abdomen, and difficulty with urine.

  1. Is it painful to pee after circumcision?

Urine does not hurt the incision after circumcision, and the child should not feel any pain or any complications when urinating/peeing. The surgery only involves removing the foreskin (prepuce) without interfering with the urinal tract or where the urine comes out. Urine is sterile, and thus, does not cause any infections to the circumcision.

Nonetheless, you need to contact a doctor if you feel pain or burning sensation after urinating, pain on the abdomen’s sides and above the waist, fever, and blood in the urine.

  1. Does a circumcision hurt?

While circumcision can be performed at any age the extent of pain depends on the age of the child or the adult. Most health experts recommend that you circumcise the child soon after being born or within a few weeks of life. That’s because babies are less receptive to pain signals. As the child grows up, they become more aware of their sexual organs and may experience a bit of physiological discomfort. Generally, the pain ranges from mild to moderate when a general anesthetic is used with an intraoperative penile block.

  1. Is circumcision good or bad?

Many health experts seconded by a proposed CDC Guidelines, agrees that the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks However, some doctors opposed to circumcision argue that the procedure destroys the protective foreskin and ruins its sexual functions. Well, circumcision removes the prepuce to prevent health conditions, such as paraphimosis and balanitis, and redundant foreskin (preputial pearls). Although complications, such as bleeding and infections may occur [which rarely happen], the medical sector made strides in preventing such issues. Recent clinical research showed that the procedure lowers the risk of urinary tract infection by 10%, lowers the risks for contracting HIV and STIs, and easier genital hygiene.

  1. What is foreskin good for?

It is challenging to understand whether or not the foreskin is essential. It is a vital, healthy, and natural part of a male person’s body to some people. The argument behind that is that it offers life-long protection to the penis. As the child grows older, the foreskin helps them to experience a satisfactory sexual life.

On the other hand, medical experts say that the foreskin is a vestigial structure that lost its role during fetal development in the wound and no longer serves its purpose once the child is born. Leaving it intact only results in further complications, such as phimosis and higher risks of contracting STIs.

  1. Can you get a circumcision at any age?

Circumcision may be performed on males of all ages. If you didn’t get circumcised as a baby or child, you might choose to have it done at a later age for personal or medical reasons. Circumcision among newborns is most common among communities. For instance, the Jews and Muslims circumcised newborns as a religious requirement. Circumcision is a relatively more straightforward surgical procedure, although it becomes a little involving among adolescents and adults. As an adult, your doctor may suggest that you get circumcised if you report recurrent infections of the foreskin and the inability to retract it beyond the glans.

  1. What happens if you get erect after circumcision?

After circumcision, morning and nighttime erections usually cause pain on the incision. That’s because the skin stretches, increasing tension on the stitches and waking up “the man down there.” Surprisingly, the pain one experiences cause the erection to subside. Thus the strain on the stitches reduces, and eventually, the pain goes away. In case the erection persists, it would help to find indulge in an activity to help with the pain. An effective means to do that is to take a short walk outside. That diverts blood flow from the penis to the legs, causing the erection to subside much faster.

  1. How long does it take for circumcision to heal?

The recovery timeline after circumcision varies, depending on the age that you underwent surgery. It takes between 7 – 10 days for the circumcision to recover completely in babies and small children. In adults, complete recovery usually takes about 14 – 21 days. During this time, you might need to take time off work. In the few days after circumcision, it is critical to ensure that dressing on the incision remains clean to alleviate any risks of infections. Typically, your doctor will tell you when you can return to the clinic for bandage replacement, usually after two or three days.

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  1. Can I bathe after circumcision?

Between 0-24 hours of circumcision, the incision is still fresh. It would be best to avoid full-body bathing within the first two days after the surgery. Taking a warm shower on the third day is okay, and you can bathe as normal but you have to make sure the area is completely dry after the bath. However, it is ill-advised to scrub the incision as that will only make it worse. Let the soapy water run over it for several seconds [up to a minute], then pat it gently to dry it. If you circumcise a newborn, you should wait until the umbilical cord has fallen off to give them a full bath.

  1. How long does circumcision pain last?

The pain you feel after circumcision lasts for varied times, based on your age when you underwent the procedure. Babies may become a little fussy and irritable because they might feel short-lived painful spells, but that should peter out within three or four days after the surgery. In adults, the intermittent painful periods may extend up to 2 weeks, but your doctor may prescribe you effective pain-relieving drugs. Most doctors recommend that you wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent contact with the glans. They should also refrain from sexual intercourse or masturbation for about six weeks until complete recovery.

  1. What helps a circumcision wound heal faster?

There are a few things you can do to make a circumcision wound heal faster, whether you’re an adult male or caring for a circumcised newborn. For a small baby, offer them pain relievers, such as acetaminophen for pain, as per the doctor’s prescription. Additionally, apply a lubricant/moisturizing ointment after every diaper change for quicker recovery. Adults will receive medicine to ease the pain. Still, your doctor will also suggest that you avoid situations that might stimulate you sexually, not scratch the penis, keep it clean, and avoid strenuous work or exercise.

  1. How many days after circumcision can you bathe?

It is best to avoid taking a full bath after circumcision until the third day. On the first two days, the wound is fresh, and you don’t want to disturb it because it will compromise the healing process. Meanwhile, you can keep clean by taking a sponge bath with warm water. On the third day, taking a bath is okay, although you mustn’t scrub it as you do other parts of the body. Let warm water run on it and pat it gently using a clean, dry cloth.

  1. What ointment is good after circumcision?

There are several ointments that you can apply to circumcision. The primary purpose of that is to keep the wound moist, thus preventing the diapers or underpants from sticking to the incision. You can use petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, A&D, or an antibiotic, such as Neosporin or bacitracin. For a quicker recovery, it would be best to apply the ointment daily [after every bandage change] for five to seven days.

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  1. How long do stitches take to dissolve after circumcision?

The time it takes for stitches to dissolve or get absorbed varies from patient to patient. Most commonly used stitches begin falling off or dissolution after about one to two weeks. Some may even take as long as four weeks while other two months. It all depends on the individual. However, if the incision heals entirely but the stitches are still visible, that’s a sign to call your general practitioner. They know what to do to remove them instead of waiting for them to fall off by themselves.

  1. What happens if too much skin is removed during circumcision?

One of the everyday situations that result from excessive skin removal during circumcision is that during the contraction of the remaining skin, the entire penis becomes concealed; not even the glans appears. The skin becomes so crowded against the glans that some patients report difficulty urinating because the end of the penis can barely open. In most cases, the skin epithelializes spontaneously, resulting in the desired outcomes. In most cases, the initial appearance may get the parent and doctor concerned.

  1. Why should I circumcise my son?

Some medical doctors do not advocate for or against circumcision among newborns, small children, or adolescents. However, clinical studies have suggested that the benefits of circumcision clearly outweigh the risks. Circumcising your son alleviates various infections, including paraphimosis, phimosis, balanitis, penile cancer, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Furthermore, circumcision alleviates the risks of contracting HIV and other STIs.

  1. How does circumcision help the female partner?

Circumcision ensures that the female partner remains healthy. With an intact foreskin, bacteria and germs tend to build up under it. During sexual intercourse, an uncircumcised male can directly pass the pathogens to the female partner’s urogenital system, resulting in vaginal infections and UTIs. Furthermore, it reduces the partner’s risk of contracting HPV-related cervical cancer fivefold. There’s also a fivefold reduction of the chances to contract bacterial STIs like chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy.

  1. Does circumcision affect length?

A simple answer to this question is NO, it doesn’t. A penis with an intact foreskin appears longer and bulkier, but the foreskin retracts and virtually disappears when it erects. Because circumcision involves the removal of the foreskin, it means it doesn’t affect the penis size. Blood flow to the penile tissues is what causes an erection and thus a change in size. Again, that indicates that removing the foreskin doesn’t increase or reduce the penis size. Nonetheless, it loses the bulkiness it had previously when the penis is flaccid.

  1. Is male circumcision ethical?

If you consider circumcision from an ethical perspective, there are two sides to it. Some experts say that it is an unethical procedure because it is nontherapeutic and deprives the newborn or child of the freedom to consent to the procedure. On the other hand, other parents and practitioners argue that most indications of circumcision may cause harm to the child, primarily due to the bacteria that lodges under the foreskin. The child may also become sexually active from adolescence, and circumcision reduces their risks of contracting STIs and HIV.

  1. Does insurance cover baby circumcision in Malaysia?

Circumcising your child is a choice that you make. In Malaysia, it is not a legal requirement or health policy to circumcise your child. That said, it is usually not covered as part of your medical cover. If you are concerned about the matter, it would be best to contact your medical insurer for verification.

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