Circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin from the penis. It is often done in hospital nurseries on newborns who are assigned male at birth. Circumcision is also done as part of religious rituals, such as the Jewish bris.

Health Effects

People get circumcised to treat certain conditions. This includes:

  • When the foreskin cannot be pulled back.
  • When the skin covering the head of the penis is red and sore.
  • When there is a cancer diagnosis.

Health care providers use pain medicine when they perform circumcisions. Side effects can include bleeding, infection and swelling. Overall, circumcision is a simple procedure. Complications are rare.

There is new evidence that circumcision offers health benefits. The foreskin can trap HIV, as well as other bacteria and viruses that can cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infections. Circumcisions can make sex safer and help prevent HIV and STIs.

Talk to your health care provider about whether circumcision is a good idea for you.

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