How Painful is Circumcision In Adults

Fact checked by Dr. Mohd Shafiz Mohd Zaini

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You are an adult who is considering circumcision. For some people, the decision to get circumcised is an easy one. But for others, it’s a tough call. So as the benefits of circumcision are widespread, uncircumcised males have begun questioning how painful it would be to undergo the relatively simple procedure. The various circumcisions differ greatly, leading to varying pain levels and healing times. 

Continue reading to learn about adult circumcision-related pain for an adult so you can decide on the best option available. 

What to Know About Adult Circumcision?

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The procedure of circumcision involves removing the foreskin at the head of the penis. It is a procedure that has been performed for centuries.

Some cultures consider it a vital rite of passage into adulthood. It can be done for religious or cultural purposes or to oppose circumcision. But over the past century has become controversial due to changing social attitudes and beliefs about male circumcision.

Infant circumcision is usually performed on newborn babies within 24 hours of birth by a healthcare professional or midwife in hospital settings. However, some men get circumcised for medical or a religious rite later in life.

Men can choose to be circumcised as adults for many reasons:

Suppose they have a foreskin that is too tight (phimosis) or long (paraphimosis). These conditions cause pain and discomfort during intercourse and other activities. Suppose these conditions are not treated, or you do not adhere to local anesthesia or pain medication. In that case, they can lead to more severe problems such as infections or scarring of the tip of the penis (balanitis).

This can happen if there is poor hygiene under your foreskin and a build-up of bacteria occurs underneath it. This can cause inflammation and swelling under your foreskin. Balanitis can also occur if you have a condition called Lichen Sclerosus, which causes white patches on your skin that may bleed easily when touched.

Other factors that may play into your decision for adult circumcision include:

  • Sexual pleasure or sexual function

  • Religious reasons

  • Hygiene concern

Given the common practice and factors, there are several medical reasons that adult males may also go for circumcision. 

Healthcare Professional Reasons for Circumcision in Men

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Peer reviewed studies suggest that male circumcision has numerous health benefits. It is estimated that it reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60%.

It also minimizes HPV and genital herpes infection per an observational cohort study. Meanwhile, it has also been associated with lower risks of syphilis and STIs associated with vaginal sex.

Specific Conditions (Penile Cancer/UTI/etc.)

Still not convinced? 

Here are five more reasons to have a circumcision:

How Long Does Circumcision Pain Last For Adults?

Research suggests circumcision can be mildly painful for several days after surgery with general anesthesia. In most severe cases, the pain subsides within two weeks — though some people find it lasts longer than that –, but it may come back if you have sex before you’re healed or exposed to cold temperatures or get an erection before healing is complete.

Minimizing the Pain

Fortunately, ZSR Stapler Circumcision Method offsets the idea of pain compared to several conventional methods since it is less invasive and causes little to no pain. Therefore, it’s most applicable to persons who have anxiety and fear of surgery.

Different Circumcision Methods And Procedure

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There are several traditional methods of circumcision, but from the modernized perspective, the procedure can be performed using the following ways:

  1. Stapling method

This method involves using a surgical stapler to cut off part or all of your foreskin (prepuce). It may also be called a ‘circumcision clamp’ procedure or a Mogen clamp because these devices are sometimes used. This will consist of the healthcare professional placing a clamp over your foreskin and then using forceps to pull it away from your head until it splits open like a flower bud opening up in springtime! Then he’ll attach one end of an absorbable suture thread to each side of your split. 

  1. Sutures (stitches)

This method involves using sutures (threads) to close the foreskin after removing it. Suturing causes more bleeding than other methods and may take up to 10 days to heal completely. You can even adhere by applying petroleum jelly.

  1. ZSR Circumcision Method

The ZSR circumcision method is an alternative to the conventional forceps-guided technique, and it involves using a surgical stapler, allowing faster and more precise excision of the foreskin. Dr. Daniel J. Wasser and colleagues first described this technique at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.

The advantages of using a surgical stapler versus traditional surgical methods include:

  • Faster procedure times

  • Reduced blood loss 

  • Less pain during healing

  • Fewer complications such as infection or bleeding

  1. Tie-back Technique or Dorsal Slit

This method involves tying the foreskin back with sutures or cutting off part of the foreskin with surgical scissors before tying it back with sutures or stitching up any remaining skin edges like an upside-down V shape. Hence, they heal together into one scar line at the tip of your penis shaft instead of having two separate scars from each side if you had just had them.

Recovery Comparison of Each Method From Circumcised Penis

After the conventional circumcision method, you may have some swelling, redness, and discomfort for several days. Usually, sutures will dissolve and fall out by themselves.

The stitches are not noticeable after a few days, and they do not need to be removed, and the wound should heal in about 10-15 days. All circumcised men have a small scar at the circumcision site that is barely noticeable after several months.

Recommended Care

You should be able to shower as usual after your procedure in most of these methods. Still, no soaking or swimming until the wound has healed completely, usually about 7-10 days after your circumcision. During this time, it is vital to clean the area with mild soap and water daily and not pull on any loose skin over the incision line.

Overall, it’s expected that a man recovering from adult male circumcision will experience mild pain, some bleeding, and maybe dizziness when taking certain painkillers. However, it’s important to remember that these effects are temporary and that you’ll be back in good health in a few days, depending on your specific circumcision method. 

Even better, you can avoid most of this discomfort and adjustments related to a circumcised penis if you can use the best and most convenient method available. 


You may still be wondering about how painful circumcision is in adults. Here’s the good news: it’s not as bad as you think. There are anesthetic creams that can numb the area, and plenty of medical professionals (including doctors, nurses, midwives, and surgeons) are willing to help you through the procedure, particularly with a suitable device. Just remember that you must educate yourself first and prepare for the aftermath of your circumcision before making a decision.

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