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What is a circumcised penis and why do some men have them?

CIRUMCISION is a procedure that removes the retractable fold of skin that covers the end of the penis.

It can be carried out for a number of reasons and here we take a look at what the procedure is and why some men need to have it.

Circumcision can be carried out for a number of reasons – here we look at the most common

There are two main reasons why people are circumcised, medical and non-medical.


Medical circumcision is carried out when the foreskin is too tight and won’t pull back – this is a condition known as phimosis.

The NHS says that this can sometimes cause pain when the penis is erect and, in rare cases, passing urine may be difficult.

Circumcision is carried out in extreme cases and most people prefer to have a topical steroid solution.

Other medical reasons include, cancer of the penis.

This is a rare type of cancer where a red patch or a wart like growth or ulcer appears on the end of the penis or under the foreskin.

The three main treatments for this would include surgery to remove the cancerous cells and surrounding tissue, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Paraphimosis is another condition which might see a man opt for circumcision.

This is where the skin of the penis can’t be returned after being pulled back.

In this instance, immediate treatment is needed to avoid complications – such as restricted blood to the penis.

Recurrent balanitis, may also be a reason as to why circumcision is required.

This is where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected.

This condition can sometimes be treated with the use of antibiotic or antifungal creams.

You might also be given corticosteroid ointment, gels or cream.


This is usually carried out in Jewish and Islamic communities and in many African communities.

They are mostly carried out on children.

In most cases the procedure will only be recommended when other treatments have been tried and have failed to work.

If you’re considering having a circumcision for a medical reason, then you should always discuss this with your GP.

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