Boys are born with a fold of skin that covers the head of the penis (foreskin). The health care provider involved with newborn care or a urologist may remove the foreskin shortly after birth with a surgery that is called circumcision. This procedure may also be done later in life.
If a baby is born prematurely or is ill, circumcision should not be done until he is older or stronger. In some instances of deformity of the penis or deformity of the opening of the penis (urethra), circumcision should not be done.
Why Is Circumcision Done?
The decision whether to leave the foreskin on or whether to have it removed is a personal one. It is often based on religious, social, or cultural beliefs. Benefits of circumcision include:
- The head of the penis is easier to wash when the foreskin is removed. This makes odor, swelling, and infection less likely.
- Some studies show that men who are circumcised are less likely:
- To carry the virus that causes genital warts.
- To contract HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
- To develop cancer of the penis.
- To get urinary infections.
- To develop inflammation of the penis.
- Removal of too much or too little foreskin, affecting the appearance of the penis.
- Irritation and narrowing of the urinary opening, which is usually temporary.
- Scarring of the penis, affecting the way that the penis functions.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.