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Circumcision Effects

Circumcision, a procedure usually done soon after birth, “is defined as partial or complete surgical removal of the foreskin (prepuce) of the penis” [1]. For some, circumcision is practiced due to religious beliefs, and for others, it is for health reasons. On that train of thinking, let’s dive into the effects of circumcision.

Although research is still being done about the effects of male circumcision, there is already substantial evidence supporting its positive benefits. So instead of starting with the positives, let's talk about the negatives. Although the risk of complication after circumcision is low, there can be “infection, bleeding, hematoma, wound dehiscence, swelling, anesthetic reactions, inadequate tissue removal, pain, penile damage, erectile dysfunction, and dissatisfaction regarding appearance” present after the procedure [2]. On top of this is the topic of morality, specifically because circumcision is usually done soon after birth when the infant cannot consent.

While this list may seem alarming or intimidating, these complications rarely happen. In fact, the benefits from numerous studies have shown to outweigh the risks present. Here is a concise list of the benefits that can come from circumcision, according to various different studies:

● Bacteria does not have the chance to build up under the foreskin, and it is easier to clean the head of the penis

● Circumcision can significantly reduce the risk of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is when bacteria settles in the urethra.

● There is a decreased risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by 70%, and circumcision is very cost effective when compared to other HIV preventative methods [1].

● Circumcision has not been shown to change any aspect of sexual function (although studies are still being done on this particular topic)

● Circumcision can decrease the risk of contracting penile cancer.

● Circumcision can reduce the risk of one person spreading diseases on to their partner

There are many more benefits that can come with circumcision, but these are some of the more praised results, as they can make a significant difference in the life of an adult. Although the positives do outweigh the risks, it is important to note that the case isn’t the same for everyone as the risks that comes with the procedure increase depending on one’s age. Overall, the debate about the morality of circumcision and its risks still exists, however the positive effects surely cannot be ignored. Ultimately, it all boils down to the decision of each individual whether or not they get the procedure done.


1. Alkhenizan, A., & Elabd, K. (2016). Non-therapeutic infant male circumcision. Evidence, ethics, and international law perspectives. Saudi medical journal, 37(9), 941–947.

2. Johnson, K. E., & Quinn, T. C. (2008). Update on male circumcision: prevention success and challenges ahead. Current infectious disease reports, 10(3), 243–251.



Author: Kayjah Taylor

Editor: Shandrix Ferrer

Health scientist: Bhagya Arikala

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