Circumcision is a popular procedure and involves the surgical removal of the tissue covering the head of the penis, known as the foreskin. It is an ancient practice and in modern society many parents choose to have their sons circumcised for religious or for other reasons.

While different religious rites prescribe specific methods, most circumcisions are usually performed by an obstetrician or pediatrician within 48 hours of birth. In addition to religious reasons, there are important medical benefits to the procedure.

The most often cited medical benefit is a ten-time reduced risk of urinary tract infections during the first year of life, as well as a drastic reduction in the risk of cancer of the penis. Studies have also illustrated a markedly lower incidence rate of sexually transmitted diseases among circumcised men; including lower rates of syphilis and HIV.

In the United States, approximately sixty percent of boys undergo circumcision but the rates for the procedure are much lower on a global scale. In addition to religious reasons, some other medical reasons for a circumcision include treatment of problems with the foreskin; known as phimosis or for balanitis which is a swelling of the penis tip. While circumcision is a largely cultural phenomenon; there are both medical and psychological benefits to the procedure.

As previously mentioned, the medical benefits of circumcision, while debatable, include:

  • A marked decreased risk of urinary tract infections
  • A reduced risk of male contracted STDs
  • Higher degree of protection against penile cancer
  • Reduced risk of cervical cancer in women
  • Prevention of inflammation of the glans and foreskin
  • Facilitation of penile hygiene
Because Circumcision is a surgical procedure, there will be inherent risks. While many people believe that the benefits far outweigh the rare nature of the risks; patients should be informed in order to make a good decision. These risks, while low in incidence, include the following:
  • Pain and risk of bleeding as well as infection
  • Irritation of the glans
  • Increased risk of penis inflammation
  • Risk of injury to the penis
In addition to the medical benefits, there are also quite a few psychological benefits to the circumcision procedure. Many studies have shown that a circumcised penis can improve intimacy between men and women.

In a recently released study, women reported an improvement in their sex life with a circumcised partner as opposed to one who was not. In the study, researchers studied more than four hundred women who were partners of men that recently had their foreskin removed. Nearly forty percent reported that sex was more satisfying and over half reported no change in sexual satisfaction.

Conversely, nearly all of the men reported either no change or an increase in sexual satisfaction. Furthermore, circumcised males have demonstrated a longer performance time during sex; an important dimension for female sexual satisfaction.

The psychological benefits also extend to aesthetics. Many women have reported that a circumcised penis is more visually pleasing than one that has not been circumcised. In the final analysis, circumcision is a medical procedure that has many medical, cultural, and psychological benefits that may very well outweigh the risks.