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Men's Health (cont.)

Male Circumcision

Patient Comments

Men's sexual health begins at birth. In the U.S. and other countries, one of the first decisions made by the parents of a male infant is to consider circumcision (surgical removal of the foreskin that covers the penis). Although there is no absolute medical reason for this operation according to major medical groups (American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), it is a common procedure done in the U.S. (about 75% of all U.S. males are circumcised).

Why is circumcision ever done? Besides being done for religious reasons, it is widely believed that circumcision promotes better hygiene in males and reduces the incidence or chance for several types of infection and penile problems to develop in males, both young and older(adults) that retain their foreskin. Although the inability to retract the foreskin fully at birth is not a medical reason for a circumcision, circumcision can prevent:

  • phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin at an age when it should normally be retractable),
  • paraphimosis (the painful inability to return the foreskin to its original location), and
  • balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).

Studies indicate young circumcised males may have a 10 fold decrease in the number of urinary tract infections as compared to uncircumcised males. In addition, other studies indicate that circumcised males have a lower risk for:

Although circumcision may increase the chance of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis), the risks of the procedure are small if done on healthy newborns before the age of two months. Ultimately circumcision remains a personal, family decision.

Male Sexual Development

  • Puberty (sexual development to become fertile or sperm-producing) in males usually begins between the ages of 11 or 12 through 16, and is commenced by multiple factors including genetic triggers, hormonal surges (testosterone), and other factors that are not clearly understood.
  • Usually, over a period of 6 months or so, the testicles and penis begin to enlarge, then pubic and armpit hair begin to develop.
  • Next, the voice becomes deeper and the musculature becomes thicker.
  • Although facial hair is the last obvious change, most males also begin a growth spurt during puberty that comprises about 18% of their final adult height.
  • Parents or caregivers of males that fail to develop these signs of puberty should initially seek advice from the pediatric doctor or pediatric endocrinologist.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Men's Health - Health Choices

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Men's Health - Behavioral Changes

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Men's Health - Circumcision

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Men's Health - Erectile Dysfunction

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