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Ultimate Guide to Adult Circumcision & What to Expect

A male doctor discussing a surgical procedure with a patient

Photo from Pexels

Circumcision is one of the world's oldest and most common surgical procedures. In the United States, research estimates that 71.2% of males have undergone the procedure before adulthood. Globally, around 37%-39% of males are circumcised.

Adult circumcision is less common. However, as adults, uncircumcised men have the option to undergo the procedure. Some choose to be circumcised for aesthetic, hygienic, or religious purposes, while others may require circumcision for various health reasons.

What are the Common Reasons for Adult Circumcision?

There are many reasons ‌men may opt for circumcision later on in their life. Some men feel that circumcision is more aesthetically pleasing and improves overall hygiene. For others, religious or cultural reasons may be the motivating factors guiding them. Finally, some doctors may also recommend circumcision for various health reasons.

Medical Reasons for Circumcision

Phimosis: Adult circumcision is most commonly carried out when men experience phimosis, a condition that makes it difficult to stretch the foreskin.

Paraphimosis: This condition occurs when the foreskin becomes stuck after being pulled behind the tip of the penis.

Posthitis: This is a condition when there’s inflammation of the foreskin.

Injuries: The foreskin tears while having sex or when there’s an accident. In this situation, adults can opt for circumcision to remove the foreskin as it’s easier than repairing it.

Non-Medical Reasons for Circumcision

Religious Practices: In Jewish and Islam communities, circumcision part of religious standards. For example, they circumcise newborn Jewish boys on the 8th day after birth during a traditional ceremony called a brit milah. But adult circumcision is also common for Orthodox converts or for others who become more religious when they reach adulthood.

Aesthetic Purposes: Some men opt to undergo circumcision because they believe that a penis looks better when it is circumsized.

Sexual Health: Finally, many men choose to get a circumcision as it has some benefits for their sexual health. According to the CDC, circumcision can lower the risk of getting herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV) from vaginal intercourse.

How is Adult Circumcision Performed?

Adult circumcision procedure is a relatively simple surgery that doesn’t cause any serious complications. It simply involves retracting the foreskin along the shaft of the penis and carefully removing a small amount of skin. In general, the process for adults can take between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Let’s take a look at the circumcision procedure step by step:

  1. The adult circumcision surgery usually begins by injecting local anesthesia into the base of the penis to numb the area.

  2. After that, the doctor will begin by moving the foreskin away from the head of the penis and then back onto the shaft. The doctor does this to measure how much skin they need to remove.

  3. Next, the doctor will use a sterilized scalpel to cut the foreskin.

  4. The doctor will then cauterize the wound and apply a dressing.

  5. After the procedure, patients will receive pain medication and instructions for aftercare.

What are the Benefits of Adult Circumcision?

Many men choose to become circumcised because of a variety of benefits. Adult circumcision poses several benefits, such as helping treat health conditions or lower risks of the following:

Recurrent Balanitis: Circumcision can be a treatment when the foreskin and penis head become inflamed and infected.

Penile Cancer: Circumcision helps lower the risks of penile cancer, a sporadic type of cancer where wart-like growth or ulcer appears on the penis or under the foreskin.

Cervical Cancer for Female Partners: Females who have circumcised men as sex partners have lower risks of getting cervical cancer.

What are the Complications Associated with Adult Circumcision?

Adult circumcision surgery is generally a safe procedure with few complications. But like any medical procedure, it is not entirely risk-free. Common complications may include:

Infection: There’s a slight risk of infection at the circumcision site, which can usually be treated with antibiotics.

Bleeding: Although rare, some patients may experience bleeding after the procedure. If this happens, they will have to return to the circumcision clinic so the doctor can re-clamp the wound.

Pain: It’s normal to feel pain after the procedure. Some people may experience intense discomfort that lasts for weeks or months. In rare cases, patients may feel chronic pain or make sex painful.

How to Prepare for Adult Circumcision?

Before undergoing adult circumcision, patients will have to do a few things to prepare for the surgery. Here are 6 steps someone needs to take before going into the appointment:

  1. Consultation

Contact a circumcision center and book an appointment with a doctor for a consultation. During this visit, patients will discuss their medical history to eliminate obvious contra-indications or complications during the procedure. Also, be transparent about any allergies to any anesthetic or antibiotic to ensure safety during the surgery.

  1. Pubic Hair

No one is required to shave their pubic hair completely, but some physicians prefer hair to be fairly short. Doing so prevents any hair from becoming trapped during the bandaging process. It is also advised to temporarily stop routine shaving for at least two days before the procedure on the upper legs and pubic areas to prevent skin irritation or infection.

  1. Alcoholic Beverages

Do not consume alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours before circumcision. The reason being it can dehydrate the patient and reduce the effectiveness of the local anesthesia. What patients can do is ensure that they drink enough fluids.

  1. Smoking

Do not smoke before and after the circumcision, as it can interfere with the healing process of the wound. Longer recovery time can lead to complications and infections.

  1. Hygiene

On the day of the circumcision, the patient should have a thorough bath, mainly cleaning the foreskin and genitalia. Then, right before the surgery, they should take the time to empty their bowels and bladder.

What is the Circumcision Aftercare?

After the circumcision, the penis will appear swollen and bruised. This is a normal post-surgery effect, but here are some ways for the patient to take care of themselves after the surgery:


For someone who usually wears boxers, consider using tight-fitting boxers or briefs after the surgery to hold the penis in position and reduce friction.

Antiseptic Creams

Avoid applying an antiseptic cream to the penis, and do not put any antiseptic in the bathwater. Although they can kill germs, they are mostly corrosive to new skin and slow down the healing processes. Instead, when sensing any infection in the circumcision site, contact your circumcision center immediately.

Pain Killers

Some may experience pain or discomfort in the few days following the circumcision. The patient can opt to take painkillers, but do not consume more than the recommended dose.

Do not take aspirin or any aspirin-based product as they are blood thinners and have anti-clotting action, which can increase the bleeding from the wound. Please contact your doctor for instructions if you have any maintenance medication that has aspirin.


Avoid taking part in strenuous activities for at least the first 4 weeks after the surgery. But the patient can walk more for exercise as they recover. Also, keep genitals dry for 48 hours and refrain from swimming for up to 2 weeks.


Patients should avoid engaging in sexual activities, including masturbation, for 4 weeks or until their doctor says it’s okay. Patients may still experience erection, though erections alone will not damage the stitches. .

Adult Circumcision Done Right

Adult circumcision is a decision made for religious, cultural, aesthetic, or medical reasons. Whatever reason you have, it’s important to understand and prepare yourself for the procedure. While it’s a simple procedure, it’s best to consult first with a doctor before deciding to undergo circumcision.

If you’re considering circumcision, you can discuss it with our doctors anytime. We’ll be more than happy to help you make a safe and informed decision and book a free consultation.

Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about adult circumcision. Contact us today!


Circumcision in men - NHS (

Adult circumcision: Recovery, procedure, and benefits (

Aftercare For Older Boys and Adult Men (

Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks, Procedure Overview (

Adult Circumcision: What to Expect at Home (

Circumcision: Treatment, Risks, Benefits, Recovery (

Adult Circumcision: Preparation and Recovery - Modality Circumcision Service (

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