Benefits and Risks of Circumcision

picking battles
Creative Commons License photo credit: soot+chalk

Circumcision is a practice that’s been around for centuries, and is an integral part of some cultures. Yet, it’s important to understand, from a health perspective, some of the benefits, as well as the risks, involved in the practice.





What is circumcision?

During a circumcision, the foreskin, which is the skin that covers the tip of the penis, is removed. Circumcision is usually performed on the first or second day after birth. It becomes more complicated and riskier in infants older than 2 months and in boys and men. The procedure takes only about 5 to 10 minutes. A local anesthetic (numbing medicine) can be given to your baby to lessen the pain from the procedure.

What are the benefits of circumcision?

There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits, including:

  • A decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
  • A reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases in men.
  • Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
  • Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
  • Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location).

Circumcision also makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean.

Note: Some studies show that good hygiene can help prevent certain problems with the penis, including infections and swelling, even if the penis is not circumcised. In addition, using a condom during sex will help prevent STDs and other infections.

What are the risks of circumcision?

Like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with circumcision. However, this risk is low. Problems associated with circumcision include:

  • Pain
  • Risk of bleeding and infection at the site of the circumcision
  • Irritation of the glans
  • Increased risk of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis)
  • Risk of injury to the penis

So, what do you think? Are you for or against circumcision, or should it be left up to parents?


Please feel free to email us at if you have any questions or comments!
© Earth's Magic Inc 2000 - 2015. All Rights Reserved. [ Disclaimer | Privacy Statement ]