CIRCUMCISION is a common practice in some religions but rates of the procedure have dropped in recent years.
Many people say that the procedure helps reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections – which can cause kidney issues in later life.
The procedure can be carried out for a number of reasons, including medical and non-medical.
With that in mind, experts reveal what you need to know about the procedure and whether or not it could be for you.
What is circumcision
Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin.
The NHS explains that the foreskin is the retractable fold of skin that covers the end of the penis -it's a continuation of the skin that covers the whole penis.
There are two main reasons why people are circumcised, medical and non-medical.
Medical – Medical circumcision is carried out when the foreskin is too tight and won't pull back – this is a condition known as phimosis.
Circumcision is carried out in extreme cases and most people prefer to have a topical steroid solution.
Other non-medical reasons include, cancer of the penis, paraphimosis (where the skin of the penis can't be returned after being pulled back) and recurrent balanitis, this is where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected.
Non-medical – This is usually carried out in Jewish and Islamic communities and in many African communities.
They are mostly carried out on children.
What are the benefits?
It's thought that around 8.5. per cent of men in the UK are circumcised and this has consistently dropped in the UK, experts say.
Several trials in Africa found that circumcised men have a lower risk of HIV.
There have also been several studies into male circumcision and the risk of STIs, but the NHS states that the evidence for this is inconclusive.
Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt said the procedure isn't always necessary for a healthy happy life.
Speaking to Men's Health he said that functionally, there are no major differences.
He explained: "The overall risk of urinary tract infections in males is low, but these infections are more common in uncircumcised males.
"Severe infections early in life can lead to kidney problems later on."
“Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential", he added.
What are the risks of male circumcision
In the UK, complications from the surgery are rare and the most common symptoms is swelling after the procedure.
Bleeding and infections are the two most common issues that people will experience.
The NHS says that there are other possible complications:
- permanent reduction in sensation in the head of the penis, particularly during sex
- tenderness around the scar
- the need to remove stitches that haven't dissolved
- occasionally, another operation is needed to remove some more skin from around the head of the penis
True or false?
Many people say that it's more hygienic if you have no foreskin.
This is because of smegma, this is an odorless cheese-like substance that sits under the foreskin.
But as long as you wash underneath your foreskin daily, then you won't have that issue – meaning you don't have to get the chop just to stay clean.
Sex always comes up in conversation when talking about circumcision, with many questioning if it reduces sensation to the penis.
While everyone can be sensitive to different things, studies show there is no significant change in sensation for men who have had the chop.
But sexual health expert Aleece Fosnight said it is thought that the extra skin adds more friction and stimulation to the clitoris during penetration – a point to the uncut, as it were.
Easier to get pregnant?
Some people think that this is the case, as they believe sperm can escape faster and easier if there is no foreskin.
But experts say this is not the case, with foreskin having no bearing on how fast your swimmers go.
Brahmbhatt added that circumcision does not alter the rate of pregnancy.
This really comes down to each person, and can sometimes be down to the area or community you are from.
Many parents worry that their children might feel uncomfortable with theirpeers – but this is mainly in the US where it is a more common procedure.
At the end of it, it all comes down to personal preference, but for most people, it's who they are with – rather than whether or not they have been circumcised or not.
Men should be able to have sex once more six weeks after the procedure.
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