About 8 years ago, when I went for my UTME examination in the northern part of Nigeria where I was posted by the board. Before the exam, most of us had what I can described as “exam tension” hence this uncontrollable urge to urinate. We all removed our penis from our trousers without need to hide it since we are all boys. Unconsciously I noticed some of the boys’ penis didn’t look like a circumcised penis like mine. I was perplexed and amazed because I have never seen such penis that is different from mine. This keeps ruminating in my mind and I have decided to shed more light on male circumcision as to the benefits, beliefs and risk about it.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, the tissue covering the head of the penis. It is performed about 10th day after birth and recovery is within 2-3 weeks with accompany mild pain. This has usually been a practice since time immemorial and some argued it was done for religious rites while some belief it is either for medical or cultural beliefs. However, it has been found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to make it a mandatory procedure for a male child.
Although circumcision is a simple operation, and this does not rule out some minor or major complications and risks that may occur in the process. Some of the benefits of this simple operation is that it reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis to mention but a few. It also helps to reduce the risk of penis cancer and also prevent against swelling of head of the penis (Balanitis) and phimosis.
The procedure may be complicated by infections and this prevent complete healing, can cause bleeding and the urethra may be damage which prone the child to difficulty in urinations. In a very rare occasion, there may be an accident amputation of the penis due to negligence of the surgeon or untrained personnel.
Circumcision is a simple surgical procedure with nothing to fear about. Parent should talk with their doctor about the benefits and risks of the procedure before making a decision regarding circumcision of a male child. However, other factors such as cultural background, religion and personal preference, must also be of concern when making such decision.