Men’s Health Week is an annual event organised by the Men’s Health Forum. Every year, the focus is on different men’s health issues and this year the theme is the impact of inequality and deprivation on men’s health. Materials to support the week will be released on the Men’s Health Forum website.
Keeping the focus on men’s health, let’s talk about circumcision for health reasons.
Circumcision for health reasons
Whilst circumcision is commonly a religious or cultural practice in the UK, in some circumstances, some males choose to be circumcised as a result of hygiene or medical issues. Some common reasons for circumcision include Phimosis (when the foreskin is too tight to be retracted behind the head of the penis), Paraphimosis (when the foreskin has been pulled back and cannot return to its natural position) and Balanitis, an infection and inflammation of the head of the penis.
In serious cases, these problems can result in more serious medical problems that could have severe consequences if left untreated. For most men experiencing foreskin related medical complaints, it’s very rare that circumcision is the first recommended treatment; medical ointments or creams are often prescribed first. However, where conditions such as Phimosis or Balanitis are recurring problems, circumcision provides a solution to prevent this, allowing for improved health and hygiene.
As well as removing the risk of foreskin related problems, some research suggests that circumcision can also reduce the risk of penile cancer and sexually transmitted infections. There are several theories for why uncircumcised penises are more susceptible to STIs such as HIV/AIDS, Human Papillomavirus and Herpes. For example:
- The skin covering the head of the penis of uncircumcised men becomes tougher and could protect against microtears in the skin that could provide entry points for germs and infection.
- The inner lining of the foreskin could be the point at which germs enter underlying skin cells, however, this is removed during the circumcision procedure.
- The foreskin may prolong the amount of time that the tender skin of the penis is exposed to germs.
Studies have also found that circumcised men are less likely to get penile cancer. Inflammation and STIs like Human Papillomavirus may contribute to cancer growth, and as the risk of these issues is reduced by circumcision, the risk of penile cancer is also reduced.
Enquire about Circumcision
If circumcision has been recommended as a treatment to help improve your health, please get in touch with our specialist team today by calling 0121 250 0386. We are an award-winning healthcare clinic, our team of specialists have trained with some of the leading experts in the UK and Europe and have carried out more than eight thousand circumcisions on all age groups.
We classify babies as boys that are under the age of 3 months. In most cases, circumcision for babies is carried out using the Plastibell circumcision technique. This procedure takes between 10 and 15 minutes and there is no stitching required, so your child will be allowed to go home a short time after. For this reason, it’s very important for you, the parent, to understand the required aftercare and what to expect as your child heals.
The Healing Process
After the circumcision procedure, the surgeon applies a gauze dressing to the area. To prevent the gauze from sticking to the glans, a lubricant is used. The gauze will normally fall off on its own within 24 hours of the surgery.
Every child will heal differently and will do so in stages. In some cases, it can take up to a month before the penis appears completely healed.
Circumcision can cause bleeding, but the cut edges of the glans will usually close-up in a day, if not a matter of hours or minutes.
Instantly after the procedure your infant’s glans (head of the penis) can change colour – usually red or purple. The reason for this is that the skin that covers the glans of an uncircumcised penis is a mucous membrane, which darkens and becomes thicker when exposed after circumcision.
For the first few days following surgery, you may notice off-white or yellowish patches on your child’s glans. These are just scabs, which is completely normal. After 2 or 3 days, the skin may appear yellowish-green – this is nothing to worry about, it is a normal sign of healing, not pus.
Another sign of healing is swelling, which can take the appearance of a blister. Swelling will disappear in between 1 and 2 weeks.
The skin neighbouring the penis usually holds it more erect. However, after circumcision there can appear to be a change in size, as the skin will become relaxed, leaving the penis looking a little smaller.
Aftercare for Babies
Firstly, there are a few things to be aware of. For 24 hours after the circumcision, leave your child’s lubricant gauze on until it falls off on its own.
Following circumcision, bathe your child in warm water every day for a week. If the lubricant gauze hasn’t fallen off within the first 24 hours, soaking it in the bath will help to remove it (Do not remove the gauze yourself, unless advised to by a medical professional). Once the dressing is removed, you may notice discolouration, small blots of blood and skin at the top of the penis. This is normal.
After each bath and nappy change, apply a topical barrier ointment, such as Vaseline (petroleum jelly), to the end of the penis to assist healing and prevent it from sticking to the nappy.
For a few hours, or up to a couple of days after the procedure, your infant may be fussy from pain. Signs of pain can include difficulty sleeping and feeding, as well as crying. Your doctor will advise you on pain relief.
After the first two weeks of healing, it is important to stop the skin from sticking to the glans. Complete this by gently pushing the edges of penile skin back, away from the glans.
During each nappy change, it is normal to see small spots of blood. However, if these spots are larger than an inch wide then visit your emergency department straight away. On the way to the hospital, create a ring with your thumb and index finger. Hold this at the top of your infant’s penis and squeeze for five minutes to slow down the bleeding.
Also visit the emergency department immediately if you notice that your new-born is experiencing a fever, difficulty urinating, swelling, worsening redness or a yellow liquid pouring from the incision.
At Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we are an award winning UK health care provider, with circumcision clinics in Birmingham and Sandwell.
Circumcision services should always be completed in a safe and professional environment, performed by qualified doctors. Which is why we are registered with the Care Quality Commission to reassure our patients that we are providing the highest standards of care.
For more information on circumcision for babies visit our complete guide. Or to book an appointment, call our circumcision clinic on 0121 250 0386.
The foreskin is the retractable fold of skin which can be found at the tip of a penis. Male circumcision is the surgical procedure of having this skin removed and is often completed on babies or young children for religious or medical reasons, however, many adults also choose to be circumcised.
In this blog post, we will look at a number of medical reasons why adult men may require or choose circumcision:
In generic terms, phimosis concerns a tight foreskin which cannot be retracted back behind the head of the penis. In some cases, phimosis can cause pain during urination, or while the penis is erect, as well as making it difficult for men to properly clean their penis. As a result, phimosis is one of the most common reasons for adults choosing circumcision for medical reasons.
Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO)
BXO is a chronic disease, which can often be progressive and lead to phimosis. Steroid creams are usually the first call of treatment to try, however, in some cases, circumcision surgery is required.
This is when the head of the penis and foreskin regularly becomes infected and inflamed. The symptoms include a sore, itchy and smelly penis, as well as redness and swelling, a build-up of thick fluid and pain when urinating. Balanitis can also lead to phimosis.
Seek GP attention if you suspect you have balanitis to check it isn’t a symptom of something more serious.
After the foreskin has been pulled back and cannot be returned to its natural position, this is known as paraphimosis. As a result, the head of the penis can experience pain and swelling. When this happens, immediate medical treatment is required to avoid serious consequences, including a limited blood flow to the penis.
Although it is rare for cancer to start in the penis, it does happen. When it does, a red patch that almost takes on the appearance of an ulcer or a growth similar to a wart forms either under foreskin or on the end of the penis.
Previously, there has been evidence and research suggesting that adult circumcision can help with HIV prevention. This came from multiple trials in Africa, which saw circumcised men being less likely to contract the disease from infected women.
Despite further studies to test if circumcision can prevent any other sexually transmitted infections, no evidence has been found.
Enquiring about Treatment
It is very rare that adult circumcision is the first call of treatment. In most cases you will be recommended other treatments to try first, such as ointments and creams.
At Birmingham Circumcision Clinic we are an award-winning healthcare clinic, providing circumcision treatments to adults, boys, infants and babies. Our clinicians have carried out more than seven thousand circumcisions on all age groups and have trained with some of the leading experts from the UK, mainland Europe and Australia.
We operate with a dedicated team, offering multiple treatment options, flexible solutions and appointments to suit you.
To enquire or book an appointment, please get in touch with our specialist team today on 0121 250 0386.
Circumcision of babies is a short and simple procedure, however, as with all large or minor surgeries, there will be a period of aftercare for your child, so here we offer some advice on what to expect.
After circumcision is performed a protective lubricant gauze will be applied to the affected area – this will usually fall away after 24 hours. The healing process varies from baby to baby, but a period of between two weeks and a month is usually required for the penis to heal completely.
Bleeding around the cut edges of the penis should stop within hours of the procedure having been performed and will last no longer than a day. During this time it is wise to keep an eye on a baby’s nappy to make sure a significant amount of blood has not been lost. If you have any worries, contact your doctor.
Given the sensitivity of the affected area there is likely to be some protective swelling following a circumcision procedure. Although this inflammation of the area may seem like a blister, is an excellent sign that the body is healing correctly. Making sure that the penis is directed upwards when wearing a nappy is a useful way to help the swelling subside.
Change in colour
Following the procedure parents often discover the affected area to suffer some discolouration, developing either a red or purple hue. This is perfectly normal and may be joined by off-white or yellow patches in the days following the operation. After three or four days the penis may take a green or yellowish colour, but this is an expected symptom of the healing process.
Change in size
The penis may appear to be smaller following circumcision, but this is simply because the skin surrounding the area is looser as a result of the procedure and is nothing to worry about.
Signs of complication
In the unlikely event that complications occur following circumcision a doctor should be contacted immediately. Parents should be cautious to spot signs of continued bleeding, fever, poor feeding, sickness, difficulty urinating and any sign of yellow discharge from the treated area.
Get in touch
If you would like to learn more about circumcision for babies and children and the services offered by the Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, please contact our friendly team today on 0121 2500386.
Although circumcision in adults is common practice in the UK, very little is known about the procedure by many men that are considering the procedure. Here we offer the answers to some of the questions asked most frequently by our patients.
What are the most common reasons for adult circumcision?
Circumcision in adult males usually occurs when the foreskin becomes too tight and cannot be retracted. This condition is known as phimosis, and although alternative treatments such as topical steroids can be used, circumcision remains the most recognised long-term solution.
Are there any benefits to adult circumcision?
Removal of the foreskin makes it easier to keep the head of the penis clean and free of bacterial build-up, so circumcision can be beneficial for men’s health. Medical studies suggest that circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
How is a circumcision operation performed?
Circumcision is a quick and relatively simple procedure whereby the foreskin is removed just behind the head of the penis with the use of a scalpel or surgical scissors. If bleeding occurs it is cauterised (using a heated rod) and the remaining skin stitched together neatly using dissolvable stitches.
Are there any after effects?
For a few days following a circumcision operation patients may experience some discomfort and there is a good chance there will be swelling around the head of the penis. Patients experiencing pain following the procedure can use common painkilling medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
How long will it take to heal following circumcision?
It generally takes between a week and 10 days for the penis to heal fully following circumcision. Patients are usually advised to take a week off work in order to recover, making sure that the penis is kept clean and allowed to heal properly. Patients will be advised on individual recovery times, including when they will be able to drive and have sexual intercourse.
Is there a risk of infection?
Complications after circumcisions carried out for medical reasons are very rare in the UK, and most men don’t experience any significant problems.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about the potential benefits of circumcision and how the procedure is performed, please call the friendly team at Birmingham Circumcision today on 0121 250 0386.
Although circumcision is in many cases a religious or cultural practice, there are a number of long-term health benefits that can be associated with procedure.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, the skin covering the tip of the penis. It’s a simple and well established operation that is common in the United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, and increasingly popular in the UK and Europe.
Because male circumcision makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean and free of bacterial build-up, medical studies have suggested that being circumcised can reduce the risk of contracting urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections such as Human papillomavirus (HPV).
Equally, circumcision is thought to reduce the likelihood of passing some sexually transmitted infections to partners.
A recent study published in the USA found that male circumcision can be linked with a reduced risk for women of catching infections including HIV, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 through intercourse. The study also suggests that circumcision may be linked to a reduced risk of cervical cancer and dysplasia.
So, through assorted studies and medical investigations, the proposed benefits of circumcision include:
- A decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
- A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men
- Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
- Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans)
- Prevention of balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
- Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin)
- Prevention of paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location)
If you would like to find out more about the possible health benefits of circumcision and how the procedure is performed, please call the friendly team at Birmingham Circumcision Clinic on 0121 250 0386.
Many parents may feel concerned that their new-born’s foreskin cannot be pulled back and feel that they need circumcision to correct it. However, nine out of ten boys’ foreskins are tight or stuck to the head of the penis when they’re born, and it can sometimes last up until six years of age.
This is known as phimosis, which is completely normal for the first two to six years. It protects the head of the penis from coming into contact with things like bacteria and viruses, while also stopping it from rubbing against things and becoming sore. Sometimes, the foreskin of some boys can take longer to separate and will detach at a later stage – again, completely normal.
When there’s a problem
Despite phimosis being a normal phenomenon, there are instances where it can cause an issue, such as redness, swelling or infection. It can also cause a skin irritation called balanitis, which can affect both men and boys.
The symptoms of balanitis include: An itchy, smelly penis, redness and swelling, a build-up of thick fluid and pain when urinating. If the glans and foreskin are inflamed, the condition is known as balanoposthitis.
If you think you or your son has balanitis or balanoposthitis, we would always recommend seeing a doctor to receive the appropriate treatment.
Finally, in teenagers and adults, having a non-retractable foreskin can cause pain during sex or an erection. There’s also the potential for it to cause a balloon-like swelling under the foreskin if the opening is so small that urine cannot escape.
Treatment for phimosis
The first port of call is usually to visit a doctor who will be able to give you or your son treatment to try and reduce the swelling. They may apply a local anaesthetic cream, prescribe pain medication or inject the penis with a local anaesthetic to numb the pain.
If the balanitis or balanoposthitis is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe anti-fungal medication or antibiotics. Topical steroids may also be prescribed to treat a tight foreskin thanks to their ability to soften the skin and make it easier to retract.
When the first line of treatment doesn’t work
If none of the above techniques work, or if symptoms keep reappearing, sometimes a small surgical slit can be made in the dorsal region of the tight skin. To stop a recurrence of the problem, this procedure should later be followed with a circumcision.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to treat phimosis with non-surgical methods, and sometimes the only thing that will fix the problem is circumcision. This will permanently remove the problem, rather than simply treating symptoms.
Circumcision is a popular treatment for phimosis and is one of medicine’s oldest surgeries. At Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we are one of the biggest circumcision providers across Europe. We circumcise babies, children, teenagers and adults and have been awarded the NHS Contract for Cultural and Religious Circumcision by Birmingham South Central CCG.
If you or a loved one is suffering from phimosis and you want to go down the circumcision route, you can find out more about our services by talking to our knowledgeable and friendly team on: 0121 250 0386 and by reading more here and here.
There is no doubt that surgery can be a frightening and worrying experience for anyone, adults and children included. When it comes to circumcision in boys, knowing what to expect can go some way in alleviating any anxiety and may prepare them for what is to come.
At The Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we like our patients and their families to be in the know, which is why we have come up with a brief ‘before, during and after’.
Prior to surgery, the doctor will explain the procedure along with its risks. You will need to tell the doctor about any medical conditions or medicines your child is taking just in case they have any side effects that may impact the circumcision surgery. For example, if your child is taking the blood thinner warfarin, it is important for the doctors to know as it can increase the risk of bleeding.
It can be challenging for parents to alleviate a child’s anxiety about surgery, Explaining the process along with the reason for circumcision at a level of your child’s understanding, may help calm his nerves. When talking to your child try to avoid words such as ‘cut’ or ‘sew’.
We encourage parents to plan the circumcision during the school holidays, however if the procedure is during term time you will need to inform the school of his surgery, allowing a few days off for the recovery period
You should ensure you have read all the documents we have sent you. Your child can eat and drink as normal.
If closer to or on the day of surgery, your child becomes unwell you should contact the clinic to seek further advice about whether to reschedule or attend the appointment.
Packing something that your child finds comforting is key in making them feel more relaxed. Whether it’s a stuffed toy or his favourite DVD, remember to take something that reminds him of home.
Both parents or guardian must attend with the child to sign the relevant consent forms before the operation takes place. After surgery, you and your son will be taken to the recovery room, the doctor will check your child and all being well you will be discharged. Your whole booking including discharge is approximately 1 hour long.
It can be difficult to understand all of the medical terminology related to surgical procedures, so we have put together an A-Z of circumcision that aims to be a useful point of reference for you.
Whilst there are many words related to circumcision, we have picked the top ones that we think you could come across. But if you read a word that is not listed below and you would like it explaining, please feel free to contact the clinic and one of our team will be able to help.
Anaesthetic: This is a substance that causes a lack of feeling or awareness during the procedure.
Ballooning: A condition where urine cannot escape from the tip of the foreskin as fast as it is flowing from the bladder. The foreskin may become swollen, which can be painful and could cause potential bladder and kidney damage.
Circumcision: The process of removing the foreskin, through minor surgery. It can be removed for a variety of reasons, from religious reasons and medical problems to sexual pleasure.
Dorsal Slit: The phrase ‘dorsal slit’ refers to an incision made through the top surface of the foreskin that exposes the glans. In some societies, it is classed as a circumcision.
Epispadias: This is a rare penis malformation in which the urethra ends on the top side of the penis instead of the tip of the glans, which results in urine and semen being discharged at an abnormal position.
Frenulum: A web of skin that helps the foreskin to retract during an erection and return to normal when flaccid. After circumcision, it may be retained or removed.
Glans: The rounded part at the end of the penis that forms its head.
High: In circumcision, this term is used to describe the position of the scar line. It means closer to the penis base and further away from the glans.
Meatus: The opening of the urethra at the end of the glans.
Neonatal: Relating to the new born child.
Overhang: The portion of the foreskin that extends beyond the tip of the glans.
Phimosis: This is a condition where the foreskin is too tight to be drawn back over the glans. This is readily corrected by circumcision.
Redundant Prepuce: A foreskin that ‘overhangs’ the penis when it is flaccid.
Skin Bridge: A natural and often unintended sticking together of two skin surfaces. These sometimes form between the circumcision scar and the corona, and can be corrected by minor surgery.
Tyson’s glands: These secretory glands are located on either side of the frenulum and produce an oily lubricant for the foreskin.
Urethra: The tube through which urine and semen flows.
Ventral: An anatomical term that means ‘the underside’ of something.
At Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we always like our patients to feel as well informed as possible. If you would like to find out further information, please call our specialist team on: 0121 250 0386 or read our ‘complete guide to circumcision’.
Whilst we recognise that there are a number of methods of circumcision for adults, children and babies, at Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we prefer to carry out the following techniques:
Circumcision Methods for Adults and Boys
For adult men, and boys of between the ages of 2 and 16, formal surgical techniques are used:
Sleeve resection is a freehand method. It is the preferred method for adults as it provides better cosmetic results than forceps guided or dorsal slit circumcision. This method requires a highly skilled surgeon and is carried out under a local anaesthetic.
In this procedure, the foreskin is slid back along the shaft of the penis so that a freehand cut can be made around the shaft at the point where the scar line will be placed. The foreskin is then returned to cover the glans (head of the penis) and a second cut is made around the shaft at the same position along the penis as the first cut. A longitudinal incision is then made between the two cuts around the circumference of the penis and the strip of skin is removed. The edges are then pulled together and stitched.
The guided freehand method is sometimes used for adults and older boys. In a forceps guided circumcision, the foreskin is pulled out past the front of the glans. Locking forceps are then clamped across the foreskin, immediately in front of the glans and parallel to the base of the glans. A cut is then made across the forceps to remove the foreskin, whilst the glans is protected by the forceps.
This method of circumcision is sometimes recommended for patients suffering from phimosis, when the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the glans, or paraphimosis, when the foreskin cannot be returned to its normal position.
We understand that every patient is different, so we will also choose the right circumcision method to suit the individual. In some cases, when necessary, our highly experienced surgical team will combine or modify methods of circumcision.
Circumcision Methods for Infants and Babies
For boys under 2 years of age, the most common circumcision technique uses the Plastibell. This is a clear plastic ring with a handle and deep grooves running around it. After a local anaesthetic is administered, the penis and foreskin are gently separated. To place the Plastibell in position, a small cut is made from the top of the foreskin and it is pushed back.
Once in place, the Plastibell is covered over by the foreskin and tied in place. The excess foreskin is carefully trimmed away and then the handle of the Plastibell is broken off. After around 10 days, the ring falls off, leaving a small wound that heals over the next few weeks without the need for stitches.
If you have questions about circumcision, please feel free to contact the Birmingham Circumcision Clinic on 0121 250 0386, or by completing our online enquiry form.