Is circumcision cutting it in today’s modern world?

(Getty images pic)

Circumcision dates back thousands of years. In Africa, some tribes perform it as a rite of passage to adulthood, to achieve warrior status and the right to get married. Among the Australian aborigines and Pacific Islanders, it is an important part of the coming of age ritual.

In Malaysia, this procedure is mostly practised among Muslims. It is strongly encouraged for Muslim boys to undergo circumcision for the cleanliness aspect.

In Islam, it is very important to be clean before performing prayers. A circumcised penis is much easier to keep clean especially after urination.

There is now an increasing number of adult men going for the procedure. Here are some of the main reasons:

1. The uninformed young man

Some have a condition called phimosis. This is when the foreskin becomes too tight and is unable to be retracted fully. This may cause pain during intercourse and may also give rise to infection and poor hygiene.

We say uninformed as most of these men were not advised to occasionally pull back their foreskin. As a result, their foreskin becomes too tight and they have no choice but to get circumcised.

With phimosis, there is a higher risk of getting balanitis (infection of the penis) and also smegma, which is a collection of debris and dead skin in the foreskin. Smegma is also known as “dick cheese” as it does resemble cheese in terms of texture, consistency and smell.

2. The Pearl

Mr B had severe phimosis. He was unaware of it but felt a hard lump on his penis beneath the foreskin. He was a virgin so he had no reason to retract his foreskin nor did he realise that his condition required treatment.

During the circumcision when the foreskin was removed, it was revealed that the hard lump was actually a smegma pearl. The smegma had accumulated for so long that it hardened to form a pearl-like appearance. Circumcision cured him of his “condition”.

3. Fast shooter

Another group of men get circumcised to delay ejaculation. These men usually suffer from premature ejaculation. Men on average typically ejaculate after five to seven minutes of intercourse. Men who ejaculate within one minute or less are diagnosed as having premature ejaculation.

With the foreskin removed, the penis becomes less sensitive and is able to perform longer in bed. For some men, the frenulum (attachment between foreskin and head of the penis) also gets removed.

The frenulum is responsible for most of the sensitivity in the penis and removing it allows the man to last longer in bed.

4. Sexual healing

Sometimes men only seek medical attention after a “mishap”. Due to a tight foreskin or frenulum, they may feel pain or discomfort during intercourse. Some get tears or cuts due to friction.

These tears may get infected and swollen and even though they can get treated and heal, the problem doesn’t end there. Each time the foreskin heals, it becomes thicker. When it becomes thicker, the foreskin gets tighter.

This will increase the likelihood of recurrent tears as the foreskin repeatedly gets thicker and tighter. The real solution is to remove the foreskin so they get to resume a healthy sex life.

5. Aesthetically speaking

There is a group of men who simply prefer the look and feel of a circumcised penis or their partners may have asked them to do it.

6. Diabetics

Men with diabetes are prone to getting fissures or cuts in their foreskin. This is due to poor blood circulation and also poor healing in the extremities.

Another factor is obesity where their weight predisposes them to recurrent foreskin fissures. These fissures cause a lot of pain and discomfort so they end up having to go for a circumcision.

As with all medical procedures we encourage adult men who are considering circumcision to discuss with their doctors before making their choice.

Dr Muhd Taufiq Rashid is a GP with over 10 years of clinical experience, and a resident physician at DTAP Clinic @ Somerset consulting on sexual and reproductive health, anti-ageing, weight control and healthy lifestyles. 

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.