Roughly 81% of American males are circumcised, with most circumcisions occurring during infancy, according to data from the National Institutes of Health. Yet despite how common it is — and the many associated benefits — circumcision is still surrounded by a lot of misunderstandings.
At Nevada Pediatric Specialists in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, our team helps patients make informed decisions about circumcision, the surgical removal of the foreskin on the penis. We want you to understand why doctors perform the procedure and what benefits it offers.
If you’re confused about whether circumcision is right for your son, here are three myths you need to know about.
Myth 1. Circumcision decreases pleasure and sensation
This is perhaps the most common concern about circumcision, but studies have shown that it just isn’t true. Pleasure sensations in the penis center around the end or head of the penis and the underside of the shaft — areas not affected by circumcision.
In fact, some studies have shown that circumcision may enhance sensation and sexual pleasure. Data have indicated that circumcision is associated with better sexual performance and control and less premature ejaculation. Still more research shows circumcision is associated with higher body image scores and less sexual anxiety.
What about studies purporting to show a decrease in sexual pleasure in circumcised males? A recent meta-analysis found that those studies claiming a negative relationship between circumcision and sensation are based on low-quality data or methods.
Myth 2. There are no real health benefits associated with circumcision
Caring for an uncircumcised penis requires additional steps to prevent a buildup of bacteria. But circumcision offers many health benefits beyond a simpler hygiene routine.
Specifically, circumcision dramatically reduces the risks of both urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), including HPV strains associated with cancer. Circumcision is also associated with a reduced risk of penile cancer and cervical cancer among female partners.
In addition, circumcision avoids a painful problem called phimosis that occurs when the foreskin becomes inflamed and difficult or impossible to retract during sex or for cleansing purposes.
Myth 3. It’s better to delay circumcision until adulthood
While circumcision can absolutely be performed in adult males, the risk of complications increases with older age. In addition, having circumcision performed during infancy means your child benefits from reduced health risks right from the start.
They also won’t be hampered by feelings of being different from their peers — feelings that can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Nor will they need to deal with having the procedure later, when recovery can take longer.
Data show that while adult circumcision can reduce the risk of developing penile cancer, that risk is much lower among males circumcised during infancy or youth.
Learn more about circumcision
Circumcision is a personal decision based on a lot of factors. If you have questions or concerns about circumcision for your child, call 702-457-5437 or book an appointment online with Nevada Pediatric Specialists today.