Why Do People Get Circumcised?
Circumcision is a genital surgery that can be applied in both men and women.
In the case of women, the term defines a broader set of surgeries on genital organs perceived, starting with the end of 1980s, when there were acts of female genital mutilation that took place.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Does “Circumcised” Mean?
- 2 Comparison: Circumcision in Women
- 3 Why Circumcision Is Such a Controversial Subject?
- 4 Why Do People Get Circumcised?
- 5 How Do You Get Circumcised?
- 6 Risks of Circumcision Intervention
- 7 Myths Regarding Circumcision
- 8 Circumcision in Babies
What Does “Circumcised” Mean?
The “circumcision” term comes from Latin and means “cutting around.”
The circumcision of the male genital organs involves the partial or total removal, by excision, of the skin that covers the penis (known as foreskin – the retractable part of the skin that covers the head of the penis).
This skin has the role of protective shield for the penis, protecting it from irritations produced by urea, microbes, secretions and foreign materials. The foreskin protects the urethra`s meatus (the gland`s cut that is also used for urination) from various infections or injuries as well. Circumcision might include the excision of the frenulum or it can be performed as a single procedure. The result will be the complete disclosure of the gland.
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Being also the only mobile element of the penis, the foreskin interferes during the sexual act as well, facilitating sexual intercourse. Its structure includes lots of nerve endings that play a very important role in obtaining sexual pleasure, and its glands produce natural oils that help in both protecting the penile and the woman`s vagina.
Comparison: Circumcision in Women
Both the foreskin and clitoral fracture represent skin which protects the woman`s sexual organs, meaning the glans penis and clitoris. By covering these organs, it`s allowed the maintenance of a proper hydration level, protecting by microbes and facilitating a maximum of pleasure and sensitivity.
Excluding this particular protective tegument, these genital organs become external genital organs. They aren`t protected anymore and become hypersensitive to friction with skin, scrotum or textile materials. In time, these genitals lose their ability of providing natural lubrication and develop a protective layer by thickening the skin from the clitoris. This skin thickening leads then to a subtle sensitivity and even pleasure decrease. – Read more!
Circumcision in women is see as a genital mutilation because there`s no aesthetic or medical reason for this series of interventions can prove their necessity. More than that, they also involve the partial or total excision. This is practiced according to some ancient traditions and from religious reasons: ensuring fidelity and lack of sexual pleasure. Most of the times, these interventions are practiced in inhumane conditions, unhygienic and without proper medical instruments, adequate medical personnel or the consent of the actual person involved in circumcision.
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The consequences of a circumcision in women are pretty serious: severe sexual dysfunctions, infections, disorders involving the urinary and reproduction system.
Why Circumcision Is Such a Controversial Subject?
Due to the psychological association with conventional rituals and merciless religious practices, circumcision involving men has gained a lot of negative connotations. It`s true that circumcision is a very delicate topic and that at the beginning, everything involved painful practices, especially when talking about wars or before plastic surgery evolved.
However, the whole concept of circumcision need to be understood from a medical perspective, as a need for health, as a way of providing a normal life to those who suffer from various medical conditions, restorative penis procedures, etc.
Men frequently have urinary issues or fight with infections involving their foreskin (because of microbial factors gathered in its folds). A solution (which should be only by a specialist) might be circumcision, depending on the situation of every patient. Also, particular conditions might affect the normal life course and might even put in jeopardy the life of the patient (penile cancer).
A different controversy around circumcision is related to the sexual and aesthetic reasons men use when it comes to this genital surgery. Some men resort to it for better hygiene, other ones for intensifying sexual pleasure or because of the preference certain women have for a circumcised penis. All of these are only subjective reasons, which largely depend on the patient as well as on his partner`s sexual desires.
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An essential aspect to be remembered on this regard is that the foreskin is a segment of human tissue, which is perfectly harmless and healthy, and which is naturally attributed to the genetic of the human body, and any surgical removal of the foreskin needs to be supported with very strong arguments. No matter the personal choice, it`s required to be taken into consideration that circumcision is a surgery that involves a certain health risk and which is performed in a delicate area of the body that can affect a patient from both mentally and physically.
Why Do People Get Circumcised?
Circumcision in men is practiced with or without the consent of the respective person (in small children, it can be made from an early age, with the consent of the parents). The motivation to become a subject to this procedure can be cultural-religious, sexual, aesthetic or medical.
If the motivation of the respective individual is related to the culture or religion to which the person belongs, the foreskin together with frenulum may be completely excised, leaving the glans penis completely discovered. Male circumcision is mandatory when it comes to Jewish or Islamic countries, but it`s often applied by ancient Orthodox countries (Armenia, Syria or Ethiopia). In the United States and the Middle East, this procedure is very frequently encountered, but only with the express request of the actual person, especially for hygienic or aesthetic reasons, while for Australians, Europeans or Canadians is less encountered.
Medical issues can be another motivation source, and circumcision is taken into consideration in the therapeutic treatments of functional defects when the penis is involved. The most common functional defects are:
- Phimosis: It`s the thinness of the foreskin which either doesn`t allow the penis to break off or if it allows it, strangles the glans penis, blocking the blood circulation, causing pain during sexual contact.
Phimosis might develop at birth or might be acquired throughout life.
However, be careful! At birth, boys have the foreskin and glans penis developed as a whole, frequently being closely linked. Still, this is diminishing as you age until around 3 years of age. There`s a small percentage of boys who get affected by true phimosis.
- Paraphimosis is related to the inability of pulling back the foreskin on the glans penis. This may be caused by the tegument`s narrowing that should cover the gland following a trauma or inflammation. It`s advisable in this situation the application of the Burian method of circumcision. The main principle of this particular method is to remove just the narrow part of the foreskin as well as the restoration of the skin that remained.
This specific method needs a particular amount of skill and experience from the person performing the technique.
The alternatives of treatment for eliminating the circumcision option are a few stretching techniques and/or a few minimally-invasive surgical methods and creams based on steroids. – Check this web page!
- Balanoposthitis: It`s an inflammation of the foreskin and gland. Allergic disorders (spermicide from condoms, soap, latex or powder), an inappropriate hygiene, a narrowed foreskin might cause the foreskin`s inflammation. This condition may affect a male of any age (most of them are 3 or 4 years old), and although it cannot be sexually transmitted, the bacteria which might cause it can (candida).
Another cause for damaging the foreskin is sexual activity. Your best option is to maintain a correct hygiene when it comes to your genitals.
Other issues that may involve the penis and might make circumcision needed are:
- Short frenulum: it doesn`t allow complete erection of the penis or may cause cracks or pain of the frenulum during sexual contacts;
- Skin illnesses like precancerous cancer.
- Penile cancer.
Also as a medical motivation we can also remind about the argument related to the prophylactic character of circumcision: the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, the prevention of UTIs and cervical cancer and penile cancer. Without being able to provide clear information (because of many controversies or medical and scientific evidence that in the end proved to be contradictory), it may seem that this particular prophylactic character only is present if circumcision is performed childhood.
How Do You Get Circumcised?
Anesthesia: local anesthesia at the base of the penis, or general anesthesia, if the case requires this.
Purpose: Removing part of the foreskin which contains the fibrous ring.
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Surgical methods: The “cuff” resection represents one of the most frequent methods of circumcision. The Burian method is advisable in the case of partial circumcision.
The incisions are performed using a scalpel, in both the inner mucosa and at the external foreskin`s skin. The foreskin is removed under the form of a rink of tissue in excess. Also, now it can take place a frenaplasty (repositioning of the frenulum) or a frenectomy (total excision of the frenulum), if the patient chooses so. Bleeding during surgery is stopped with an electric thermocauter.
The closure of the incision is made with resorbable or non-resorbable sutures (the resorbable sutures ensure the quality of the appearance and results). An additional closure of the incision is performed with special wound closure strips to reduce suture tension and to match the skin edges as accurately as possible.
The postoperative period has the following particularities:
- Remitting the edema after 2 days.
- Removing the yarns after 1 week, if there were no resorbable sutures used.
- Daily hygiene involving the area of the incision (just shower; bath isn`t allowed).
- The application of temporary bandages and unusual ointments.
- The application of refreshing gel packs to decrease the risk of swelling of the penis and hematoma formation.
- Sometimes the doctor will recommend administering enzyme drugs.
- The healing of the wound will occur after 2 or 3 weeks.
- The return to the regular activities is made after 2 or 3 days.
- Sexual activity or physical exercise is forbidden for around 3 weeks.
There`s no age limit regarding the circumcision operation. Experts claim that this procedure can be applied in the cases of babies, boys of any age, teenagers, adult male and even males of over 80 years old. The most important aspect is the patient`s general health.
Restoration of the Foreskin
Reconstructive plastic surgery also provides a reversibility intervention of circumcision (performed with/without the patient`s approval). This is known as reconstruction of the foreskin. Besides the intervention itself, there are a series of elongation methods of the penis`s skin to allow the restoration of the foreskin.
Risks of Circumcision Intervention
Circumcision, regardless of the reason for which it was made, presents particular risks which have to be take into consideration, although they aren`t always felt:
- Cracks, strictures, ulcers.
- Affecting some penny nerves.
- Penile venous occlusion.
- Hypersensitivity of the penile gland.
- The occurrence of the hematoma.
- Psychological trauma.
- Wound infection, swelling, inflammation.
- Desensitization of the penile gland.
- Painful erections through loss of tissue supply.
- Depigmentation of the area of incision.
- Partial or total rupture of wound sutures.
Circumcision & Genital Infections
A proper genital hygiene and practicing protected sex may prevent lots of issues and conditions, therefore circumcision isn`t a priority for men. Circumcision represents more of an elective surgery based on personal opinions and an understanding of the pros and cons of the circumcision. Genital hygiene is crucial for both circumcised and uncircumcised men.
Following circumcision, small changes start to appear in the anatomy of the male gland, the urethra meat coming out a little in relief, which deprived by the protective skin, dries out. Also, the risk of infection or surgery when getting in contact with the underwear or other materials or textures is a bit higher.
Regarding the hygiene, in the absence of the foreskin, there`s no accumulation of smegma, but if an uncircumcised man is preoccupied by his daily hygiene, there`ll be no major difference.
Myths Regarding Circumcision
Being such a controversial subject, circumcision has created a large range of myths.
- Lower risks of getting urinary infections or venous diseases.
- Greater resistance during sexual contact because of desensitization of the limb with the foreskin`s removal and fever.
- A higher degree of penis hygiene.
- The penis is more aesthetic.
- Circumcision prolongs the penis by 1 – 2 cm.
- Circumcision is considered a sexual mutilation.
- It decreases sexual pleasure.
- It might cause death.
- It may reduce the penis`s size.
- It may create psychic trauma.
- It may dry the penis.
- It may lead to painful erections, impotence or other sexual dysfunctions.
- It may produce an acute sensitization of the gland.
The veracity of this myth depends on each person and each particular case. However, what is related to sexual pleasure, hygiene and the aesthetic aspect represents subjective opinions. Still, there are some aspects that need to be cleared to avoid confusion:
- It terms of sensitivity, this increases especially after surgery (it takes time for the skin to thicken and ensure protection).
- In newborns, circumcision is sometimes practiced without anesthesia and can be a fetal procedure. Moreover, the baby may experience severe injuries of the sexual organ.
- Regarding the length of the gland, circumcision cannot increase its size; on the contrary, an excessive excision may affect its length in a negative way.
A British journal, “Journal of Urology,” published an interesting article after investigating the side effects of circumcision and draw a conclusion: by circumcision, the man may lose a particular amount of erogenous tissues, the penile gland remaining unprotected in the face of the mechanical effects; repetitive rubbing becomes somehow less sensitive with time passing, therefore reducing sexual pleasure.
Circumcision in Babies
Circumcision is practiced pretty frequently in newborns in their first day of life. In case that their health doesn`t allow it, it can also be performed 7 days after birth. – See also this!
Circumcision in babies is practiced for both religious reasons, aesthetic (in the United States, a circumcised penis is more hygienic and aesthetic) or for medical reasons. However, the medical reasons are often hard to detect in a newborn, as phimosis is a medical condition that occurs in boys up to 8 months, being a physiological state.
The most frequent circumcision method for newborns is pushing the foreskin towards the base and applying a metal clip or a plastic ring to keep the gland offset. If the clip if from metal, the foreskin is excised and the ring removed (the wound usually heals in 5 to 7 days). If the ring is made of plastic, it`s applied a tight suture around the foreskin, and the ring will fall after 8 days, while the wound heals in 7 to 10 days. Circumcision in babies is usually made with no anesthesia, but with the application of an anesthetic topic. Anesthesia is generally used in babies who are at least 2 or 3 months old.
What Complications Might Occur After the Baby`s Circumcision?
The most frequent complications are bleeding, irritation of the uncovered tip of the penis, pain, infection at the urethra`s outer end or at the circumcision`s area. Long-term complications involve possible scarring of the gland due to surgery errors, the low degree of sexual penis stimulation and the deterioration of the external urethra.
Is Circumcision Necessary?
Evidence in the strict necessity of circumcision from a medical point of view isn`t conclusive because of there are a small number of reported cases. Still, it`s believed that circumcision may contribute to penile cancer during adulthood and decreasing urinary tract infections.
Almost 20 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics performed a specific study on the necessity of circumcision in infants and concluded that this particular intervention shouldn`t be recommended as a routine intervention in infants and its potential medical benefits aren`t more important that the possible side effects.
Benefits of Circumcision
The benefits of circumcision include preventing repeated infections of the head of the penis and foreskin, avoiding the narrowing of the foreskin opening, which would obstruct the elimination of urine, and preventing the foreskin to cover the entire head of the penis. There is also some evidence that circumcision reduces the chances of penis cancer.
Complications of Circumcision
The complications related to circumcision are quite rare, although there`s a period of discomfort, which may last even a few days. The most common complication involves hemorrhage, but is usually controllable. Other complications involve injuries or infections of the head of the penis.
Effects on Sexual Life
From a man`s perspective, an uncircumcised penis is preferred because the gland, being always covered, keeps its level of sensitivity to touch. On the other hand, maintaining the hygiene of the genital gland requires more attention in this case, as the secretions that accumulate between the gland and foreskin may lead to a series of infections.