Clinical Benefits of Circumcision
There are a number of known potential benefits from circumcision.
Circumcision eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult. Phimosis also greatly increases the risk of penile cancer, and is the cause of foreskin and catheter problems in nursing homes.
Reduced Risk of Infection in Circumcised Men
Reduces by 3-fold the risk of inflammation and infection of the skin of the penis. One in 10 uncircumcised men get inflammation of the head of the penis and the foreskin. This rises to 1 in 3 if the uncircumcised man is diabetic. In contrast only 2% of circumcised men get this condition.
Important Decrease in Bladder Infections
Over 10-fold decrease in risk of urinary tract infection in infants. Whereas risk of this is only 1 in 500 for a circumcised boy, 1 in 50 uncircumcised male infants will get a urinary tract infection. This very painful condition is particularly dangerous in infancy, and in 40% of cases can lead to kidney inflammation and disease; blood poisoning and meningitis can also result. Lifetime UTI risk in uncircumcised males is 1 in 5.
Dramatically Reduced Penile Cancer Risk
Over 20-fold decrease in risk of invasive penile cancer, which has a high fatality rate. One in 1,000 uncircumcised men get penile cancer, which often requires penile amputation.
Prostate Cancer Rates Lower When Circumcised
Uncircumcised men have a 15-60% increased risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6.
Circumcision and AIDS
Circumcision reduces by over 3- fold the risk of getting HIV (AIDS), during sex with an infected woman. HIV enters via the vulnerable inner lining of the foreskin of a healthy penis, but can also infect via sores anywhere on the penis (caused for example by genital herpes). In countries such as the USA that have a low prevalence of HIV the risk of a heterosexual man being infected with HIV sexually is generally low.
Protection Against Disease Transmission with Circumcision
Circumcision also affords substantial protection against sexually transmitted infections such as high-risk papilloma (wart) virus, syphilis, trichomonas, mycoplasma and chancroid, as well as thrush.
Circumcised Men Less Likely to Transmit Viruses
Circumcision reduces by up to 5 times the risk of the man’s female partner being infected by chlamydia or getting cervical cancer (which is caused by high-risk human papillomavirus). The load of infectious bacteria and viruses that accumulate under the foreskin is delivered into the female genital tract during sex. Chlamydia is rising in incidence and can cause infertility (in both sexes), pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy. A woman’s risk of bacterial vaginosis as well as genital herpes and other STIs, including HIV, is also lower if her male partner is circumcised.