For thousands of years, penis circumcision has been a fact of life for men around the world, but a great deal of controversy still surrounds the practice of removing the male foreskin. While the tradition itself is generally related to cultural or religious convention, the medical profession has cited numerous health issues related to circumcision, both in support of and in opposition to the procedure.
For adult males, the debate is largely academic, since the decision about circumcision was made for them in early childhood. However, for the many adults who are considering penis circumcision, either for health or cosmetic reasons, it is necessary to consider both sides of the issue in order to make an informed decision about penis care.
- Improved hygiene and decreased risk of infection - An accumulation of sloughed-off skin cells, body oils, and various bodily fluids is not uncommon in the area under the foreskin. This material, known as smegma, can become a haven for bacteria and other microbial invaders, leading to foul odors and increasing the risk of certain types of infection. Supporters of circumcision point out that removing the foreskin virtually eliminates this issue, making the penis more pleasant in general and less prone to infection.
- Decreased risk of discomfort and injury to the penis - In infants, the foreskin covers the glans of the penis entirely and cannot be retracted without injury. As boys mature, the foreskin can generally be retracted more easily, and by the time they reach adulthood, it can usually be retracted fully over the head of the penis. However, in some cases, men develop a condition called phimosis, which prevents the foreskin from being retracted fully - in many instances, this issue can make sex painful to the point that it is impossible.
Uncircumcised men may also develop a similar condition known as paraphimosis, in which the retracted foreskin becomes trapped behind the head of the penis, cutting off the blood supply to the glans. This is treated as a medical emergency, as permanent injury can occur if it is not treated immediately. Cutting away the foreskin eliminates the possibility that such an injury can occur.
- Decreased risk of serious disease
Recent research with men in Africa indicates that removal of the foreskin drastically reduces men’s risk of contracting and spreading the HIV virus. For many in the medical community, this finding is enough to support circumcision in all cases. In addition, some studies have indicated that foreskin removal decreases the risk of penile cancer.
- Loss of penis feeling - Among those who are opposed to the idea of circumcision, one of the most compelling arguments hinges on research which has demonstrated that circumcision and exposure of the glans results in significant loss of penis feeling. Many medical researchers have pointed out that much of the nerve tissue of the penis is located in the foreskin itself, and that men who have been circumcised report less sensation in the penis. However, there have been other studies that report no significant loss of penis sensation following circumcision.
- No real medical benefit - Many medical practitioners argue that there is no proven medical benefit to removal of the foreskin, and therefore it is unnecessary. The foreskin serves the purpose of protecting the underlying tissue from friction and environmental damage, and according to many experts, proper attention to cleaning underneath the foreskin negates the issues related to hygiene.
Penis care essentials for both types
Whether a man is cut or uncut, proper care is vital in maintaining a healthy, responsive member. The penis is highly specialized, and a casual swipe with a washcloth and soap every now and then is not always enough to support the delicate skin and its underlying network of nerve tissue.
To prevent drying and irritation that can lead to soreness, a cracked, scaly appearance and discomfort during sex, a high-quality moisturizer such as shea butter can help to keep the skin hydrated and supple. The addition of vitamin E creates a natural moisture barrier that prevents drying of the skin.
To counter the effects of bending, stretching and rough treatment from masturbation or sex, vitamins such as A, C and D can promote the formation of healthy, new skin and connective tissue.
To support nerve function needed for optimum penis feeling, amino acids such as L-arginine and acetyl-L-carnitine are essential. Adequate blood flow is also necessary to keep all of the penile tissue oxygenated and nourished and ready to perform; vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid are vital in this process.
An all-natural penis health crème (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) that is rich in these important nutrients can play an important role in the health of both the circumcised and uncircumcised penis.
For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: http://www.penishealth101.com. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.