Is circumcision good or bad?
Circumcision, also called circumcision, is a partial or complete removal of the foreskin of the penis, performed by a pediatric surgeon or urologist.
- Circumcision is the partial or complete removal of the penis foreskin.
- Circumcision is performed either under local or general anesthesia.
- There are different motivations for circumcision. These include traditional and religious as well as medical reasons (e.g. foreskin constriction or recurrent glans inflammation).
- The advantages of circumcision include easier hygiene and a reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Medically justified circumcisions are paid for by health insurance companies. Religious or cosmetic circumcisions must be financed privately.
In a circumcision, the movable skin flap that surrounds the glans of the male member is removed either under local anesthesia (adults) or under general anesthesia (children).
What are the reasons for circumcision?
Current studies and estimates by the WHO (World Health Organization) assume that around one in three men worldwide is circumcised.
Circumcision for traditional and religious reasons
Male circumcision is firmly established in many cultures around the world. The first reports about this can be dated back to ancient Egypt. In Judaism, circumcision is a religious custom and is performed on the 8th day after birth. In Islam, on the other hand, traditional reasons play a role, circumcision is only carried out between the ages of 7 and 14.
Circumcision for medical reasons
- Constriction of the foreskin (phimosis)
In early infancy and childhood, the gluing of the foreskin is a normal finding and must be distinguished from a "real" narrowing. At the age of 7, around half of the boys can push the foreskin back as far as possible, at 10 years it is already two-thirds In up to 99% of all cases during puberty, the adhesive is completely dissolved, so age is the decisive factor in deciding whether to circumcise the foreskin.
+++ More on the topic: Foreskin constriction +++
An inflammation of the foreskin or the glans (balanitis) can be associated with scarring and narrowing of the foreskin if it occurs repeatedly. This is a medical reason for an early circumcision. Even with a special form of lichen sclerosus (lichen sclerosus et atrophicans), the surgical removal of the foreskin is in the foreground.
+++ More on the subject: glans inflammation +++
- Inflammation of the lower urinary tract
Congenital malformations in the area of the lower urinary tract can lead to an increased incidence of recurring urinary tract infections. In such cases, circumcision can reduce the risk of such infections and prevent kidney damage. The use of antibiotics can also be reduced.
+++ More on the topic: What are the causes of a urinary tract infection? +++
What are the advantages of circumcision?
Circumcision can have beneficial effects on many ailments associated with foreskin tightening. This includes a simple and effectively practicable intimate hygiene, as the absence of the foreskin means that less foreskin sebum is formed. The better hygiene leads to less inflammation of the lower urinary tract. Studies have also shown that circumcision may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
The connection between circumcision and a is also clearly proven decreased incidence of communicable sexually transmitted diseases like HPV (human papillomavirus) and even HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This can reduce the risk of such sexually transmitted diseases, especially in adulthood.
+++ More on the topic: Which sexually transmitted diseases are there? +++
Human papillomaviruses are usually sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer. Numerous studies have shown a significant reduction in HPV infections after circumcision. However, circumcision alone does not offer 100% protection against infection. The best way of prevention is still the HPV vaccination, which is recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) between the ages of 9 and 14.
According to studies, circumcision should also be the Reduce the likelihood of HIV infection. The WHO therefore recommends circumcision in regions with a high rate of new HIV infections, such as is the case in African countries. However, this measure is only one aspect of a comprehensive HIV prevention program for high-risk regions, as circumcision does not generally prevent infection. The WHO constantly endeavors to raise awareness of HIV in such regions among the population by means of information campaigns and the provision of condoms.
What types of circumcision are there?
Depending on the diagnosis and the wishes of the person concerned, different surgical methods are possible:
- Circumcision by completely removing the foreskin
- Incomplete circumcision with preservation of part of the foreskin. However, this method is only recommended in exceptional cases.
- Plastibell method, in which the circumcision is carried out by constricting a plastic bell. This method cannot be used in all cases.
- Enlargement plastic: The opening of the foreskin is only widened in this procedure and only insignificantly shortened.
How long does it take to heal?
As a rule, the healing process for a complete circumcision is completed after two weeks. However, if you notice redness, increasing swelling, or fever, you should see your doctor. Disinfecting hip baths with added tannin or chamomile can additionally support the healing process. With good healing, sexual intercourse is usually possible again after three weeks.
What effects does circumcision have on love life?
Effects on sexuality
It is generally assumed that circumcision has no effect on sexuality and the sensitivity of the glans. If you ask those affected, however, opinions differ: Some men report increased climaxes and more stamina during sexual intercourse. Others, on the other hand, complain that their sexual experience has been severely disturbed since the circumcision.
Possible psychological effects
The psychological effects of circumcision are also controversial. Today's circumcision technique is always carried out in hospitals in such a way that children do not experience any pain. Current guidelines recommend that the child's decision be taken into account for the postoperative application of ointments or creams; In general, the opinion of the father is given priority.
When does the health insurance company cover the cost of circumcision?
In the case of a medically justifiable circumcision, the costs are covered in full by the health insurance company. Circumcision for religious, traditional or cosmetic reasons is not a health insurance benefit and must be paid for privately.
What are the complications of circumcision?
Circumcisions are now routine interventions with only a low rate of complications. However, circumcision can also lead to complications. These are usually rare, harmless and easily treatable.
- Secondary bleeding
- Renewed narrowing of the foreskin due to tissue shrinkage during partial circumcisions
- Injuries to the glans or urethra
- Allergic reactions to narcotics
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Dr. med. Stefanie Sperlich, Christopher Waxenegger (2020)
Dr. Markus Riedl, FEBU
Philip Pfleger, Astrid Leitner (2020)
Austrian Society for Urology and Andrology: Circumcision in men (circumcision), status: 07/2020;
(last accessed on July 5th, 2020)
Austrian Society for Pediatric Urology (ÖGU): Guidelines for Pediatric Urology, status: 07/2016; https://www.uro.at/images/uro/downloads/Leitlinien_Kinderurologie_2016.pdf (last accessed on July 5th, 2020)
German Society for Pediatric Surgery (DGKCH): S2k guideline "Phimosis and Paraphimosis", status: 09/2017; https://www.awmf.org/uploads/tx_szleitlinien/006-052l_S2k_Phimose-Paraphimose_2017-12_01.pdf (last accessed on 05.07 .2020)
Morris BJ, Kennedy SE, Wodak AD, Mindel A, Golovsky D, Schrieber L, Lumbers ER, Handelsman DJ, and Ziegler JB. Early infant male circumcision: Systematic review, risk-benefit analysis, and progress in policy. World J Clin Pediatr. 2017; 6 (1): 89-102.
Morris BJ, Wamai RG, Henebeng EB, Tobian AAR, Klausner JD, Banerjee J, and Hankins CA. Estimation of country-specific and global prevalence of male circumcision. Popul Health Metr. 2016; 14: 4.
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