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Foreskin Problems - Is Circumcision Really Necessary?

Recent scientific studies have made it clear that circumcision of male infants provides little in the way of health benefits. However, many parents in Western countries continue to make this choice for their sons and circumcision is performed almost by rote when a male child is born. Although religious traditions are often behind this choice there are also popular misconceptions prevalent which wrongly suggest that an intact foreskin equals poor hygiene, infections, and other penis problems. Because of this perception, foreskin issues are often dealt with by circumcision, even in adults.

However, as Dr. Peter Ball of NORM-UK notes, an estimated 90% of circumcisions are medically unnecessary. With the right knowledge, proper penis care and treatment with penis vitamins and minerals, men with an intact foreskin may be able to reduce the risk of problems, avoid penis surgery and enjoy the natural advantages of an uncircumcised penis.

The anatomy of the foreskin

In male infants the foreskin and glans (or head) of the penis develop as a single structure which separates naturally during childhood. It may take up to 17 years for the foreskin to fully retract, and pulling it back forcefully may cause injury. Once the foreskin retracts completely, it is generally connected to the underside of the glans by a thin band of skin known as the frenulum (similar to the connective tissue on the underside of the tongue).

Common foreskin issues

A number of penile problems are associated with an intact foreskin. In most cases, these can be dealt with through non-invasive treatments.

• Balanatis - This condition, which may also affect circumcised men but is more common in those with an intact foreskin, is often the result of lack of adequate hygiene. It presents as itching, rash, inflammation and/or redness, as well as burning during urination.

• Phimosis - This condition is diagnosed when the foreskin of a fully grown male cannot be retracted over the glans or when it is painful to do so. When this occurs, circumcision is often recommended by doctors who are not aware of the alternative treatments.

• Paraphimosis - Similar to phimosis, paraphimosis is the result of a tight foreskin. In this case, the foreskin has been retracted over the head, but cannot be returned to its original position. Because paraphimosis may restrict circulation to the head of the penis, this is usually treated as a medical emergency.

Circumcision alternatives

In many cases, circumcision can be avoided in men who are experiencing foreskin problems. The first step to a healthy foreskin is proper hygiene. By gently retracting the foreskin and washing with water and a mild cleanser (soaps should be avoided, as they tend to dry the skin) on a regular basis, problems such as penis infections can be prevented.

For a tight foreskin that does not retract easily, gentle manual stretching is recommended. This is best done with an erection. To begin with, pull the foreskin outward as much as possible, away from the body, and then return it to its original position. After practicing this enough so that the glans becomes visible, the foreskin can be rolled back and forth over the glans with the thumb and forefinger. Eventually, the skin should become pliable enough to pull it back over the head. At first, the glans may be highly sensitive; normal sensitivity can be developed by gently handling the head under water until it is accustomed to manual stimulation.

Throughout this process, moisturizing the glans and foreskin is important - a specialized penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can help to keep the penis skin well hydrated and nourished with essential penis vitamins and minerals to support the skin’s natural elasticity and tone.