Medicalreasons for men to have a circumcision

In men, circumcision is sometimes considered a possible treatment option for the following conditions:

  • tight foreskin (phimosis) where the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans); this can sometimes cause pain when the penis is erect and, in rare cases, passing urine may be difficult
  • recurrent balanitis where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected
  • paraphimosis where the foreskin can't be returned to its original position after being pulled back, causing the head of the penis to become swollen and painful; immediate treatment is neededto avoid serious complications, such as restricted blood flow to the penis
  • balanitis xerotica obliterans a condition that causes phimosis and, in some cases, also affects the head of the penis, which can become scarred and inflamed
  • cancer of the penis a very rare type of cancer that can occur in men, where a red patch, wart-like growth or ulcer appears on the end of the penis or under the foreskin

In most cases, circumcision will only be recommended when other, less invasive and less risky treatments have been tried and haven't worked.

Mild cases of phimosis can be treated with topical steroids to help soften the skin and make it easier for the foreskin to retract.

In paraphimosis, a healthcare professional may rub a local anaesthetic gel on to the glans to help reduce pain and inflammation. They may then apply pressure to the head of the penis while pushing the foreskin forward.

In severe cases of paraphimosis, local anaesthetic gel can be applied to the penis and a small slit ismade in the foreskin to help relieve the pressure.

Balanitis and balanitis xerotica obliterans can sometimes be successfully treated using corticosteroid ointment, gel or cream , antibiotic creams or antifungal creams .

The three main treatment options for penile cancer are:

  • surgery to remove the cancerous cells, and sometimes the surrounding tissue
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy

If you're considering circumcision for a medical reason,it's worth discussing alternative treatment options with your GP or specialist.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018