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What is the purpose of penile circumcision?

There are several reasons why penile circumcision is performed. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Religious reasons: Circumcision is a religious requirement for some male infants in Judaism and Islam.
  • Hygienic reasons: Circumcision is sometimes seen as a way to improve hygiene by reducing the risk of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections. However, there is no clear evidence to support this claim.
  • Medical reasons: Circumcision may be recommended for some male infants who have conditions such as phimosis, which is a narrowing of the foreskin that can make it difficult or impossible to retract.
  • Cosmetic reasons: Some parents choose to have their sons circumcised for cosmetic reasons, believing that it looks more aesthetically pleasing.

It is important to note that there is no medical need for routine circumcision of male infants. The decision of whether or not to circumcise a child is a personal one that should be made by the parents in consultation with their doctor.

Here are some of the potential benefits and risks of penile circumcision:


  • Reduced risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life
  • Reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in adulthood
  • Reduced risk of penile cancer
  • Improved penile hygiene
  • Some studies have shown a possible link between circumcision and improved cognitive development in childhood


  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urethral opening)
  • Adhesions (scar tissue)
  • Psychological trauma

Penile circumcision serves various purposes, which can vary depending on cultural, religious, and medical factors. Here are some of the primary purposes associated with penile circumcision:

  1. Religious and Cultural Practices: Circumcision is an integral part of the religious and cultural practices of certain groups, such as Jews and Muslims. It is often performed as a rite of passage, symbolizing identity, faith, and tradition.
  2. Hygiene and Cleanliness: Proponents of circumcision argue that removing the foreskin makes it easier to maintain proper hygiene. Without the foreskin, there is less risk of bacteria and debris accumulating under it, potentially reducing the likelihood of infections and irritations.
  3. Reduction of UTIs: Circumcision in male infants has been associated with a reduced risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) during early childhood. This is believed to be because the removal of the foreskin eliminates a potential area for bacteria to collect.
  4. Prevention of Penile Conditions: Circumcision can help prevent certain conditions such as phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin is too tight and cannot be retracted fully. This can lead to discomfort, difficulty in hygiene maintenance, and potential complications.
  5. Reduced Risk of STIs: Some studies suggest that circumcised men may have a lower risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The removal of the foreskin may decrease the susceptibility of certain pathogens to establish an infection.
  6. Cancer Prevention: Although the risk of penile cancer is low, circumcision has been associated with a reduced risk of this rare form of cancer. The removal of the foreskin may eliminate the environment in which cancer is more likely to develop.
  7. Social and Aesthetic Reasons: In some cultures, there is a belief that a circumcised penis is more aesthetically appealing, and individuals may choose circumcision for social or cosmetic reasons.

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