Complications Following Male Circumcision

Iraqi Children Circumcised in Baghdad
Muhannad Fala'ah / Getty Images

Operation results may vary because a successful circumcision depends on the skill of the surgeon or medical practitioner, the medical reasons for circumcision, the method of circumcision, the amount of tissue removed and the way in which the wound heals.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that while the exact incident of post-operative complications following a circumcision is unknown, it is thought to be between 2-10 percent.

One of the reasons for this is that many problems following circumcision do not become apparent until the child grows into adulthood.

Bleeding and infection are the most common problems. The child's urine tends to irritate the exposed glans and in rare cases can cause infection.  Post operative bleeding should be minimal.
Pain is common in any wound and circumcision is no exception. Pain should, however, be a short-term difficulty. Research studies on circumcised men report that discomfort or pain during erections and at the scar site are not uncommon. Other long term post operative of circumcision include disfigurement of the penis when too much skin is removed and erectile curvature from uneven skin loss. Scarring may cause numbness.

Sexual & Psychological Complications
The sexual consequences of circumcision are often difficult to accurately calculate. It is difficult to quantify the sensory and pleasure components between intact and circumcised men.

Studies by NOHARMM report a progressive sensory loss that causes sexual dysfunction. Problems included erectile problems, ejaculatory difficulties, anorgasmia and difficulty with adequate stimulation during vaginal intercourse.

Psychological trauma is also been reported; rage, resentment, depression, genital dysmorphia, low self-esteem and even dependence on alcohol, drugs, food and sex to relieve suffering as a result of the circumcision.

Interestingly, men in the NOHARMM study reported that they did not seek medical help for the problems associated with circumcision because of embarrassment, fear of ridicule, mistrust of doctors and thinking no recourse available.

Ethical and Human Right Considerations
Many medical bodies advise that circumcision should not be carried out as a routine procedure.
Medical practices, fashions in medicine and society changes. It is becoming more common for circumcision to be delayed until the individual can give informed consent themselves.

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