Getting circumcised is not only something that happens to infants. If you are having problems with your foreskin or are overly prone to infection, then your doctor may still recommend a circumcision even in adulthood. This can be a daunting prospect – we men tend to be rather protective over our genitals – so let’s take a look at what you can expect if you’re going through a circumcision and what you should do to speed up recovery.
What Happens in a Circumcision
When someone is getting circumcised it essentially means that they are having part or all of their foreskin removed. This is a surgical procedure, usually performed under anaesthetic and is normally an outpatient procedure (meaning you don’t need to spend the night in hospital).
The most common reasons for a circumcision include tight foreskins or phimosis. In phimosis the end of the foreskin narrows sufficiently to prevent retraction. This can lead to infections and may make intercourse difficult. Alternative treatments include steroid creams and frenuloplasty.
Prior to your circumcision you may want to trim your pubic hair. This isn’t required, but it can aid asepsis (the removal of bacteria) and can prevent hair from getting painfully caught afterwards. If you are curious as to what your penis is going to look like following a circumcision then you can find plenty of images online.
What to Expect
You will normally be admitted to hospital on the day of your surgery – usually after a ‘pre-assessment’. As with most surgery you will normally be asked not to eat or drink prior to the operation (in most cases this is around six hours prior).
You will then be placed under full general anaesthetic meaning that you lose consciousness. In some cases surgeons may opt to use a spinal anaesthetic (where you lose feeling below the waist) or a local anaesthetic. You should not experience any pain during the procedure in either case. You will also usually receive a local anaesthetic on top of general anaesthetics to aid pain management upon awakening.
While you are anaesthetised, a small incision will be made just behind the head of your penis and the foreskin will then be removed. This will leave the head of your penis exposed as it is during a normal erection. You will usually also receive dissolvable stitches to close the wound where the incision was made.
After the Procedure
Following a circumcision it is usual experience mild pain and discomfort for a few days which can be managed with painkillers. You may also notice some slight swelling (which can last several days) and discharge in some cases. The head of the penis will be sensitive to the touch. You will normally receive a bandage either for the immediate area of the incision or for the whole penis. This can help protect your sensitive region as well as combating swelling. You can remove this after two to three days.
You will also be given Vaseline or another type of ointment/moisturiser which you should apply regularly around the tip of the penis where the stitches are. This is to prevent it from sticking to your underwear.
Other things you may be advised to do include wearing light underwear (no tight boxers) for 2-3 days and avoiding intercourse for four weeks. You should also avoid erections where possible – this isn’t easy, but one thing you can do is to empty your bladder before going to bed which can prevent morning glories. It will normally take around 10 days for your penis to begin healing and for discomfort to subside. People tend to take at least one week off of work following a circumcision.
Avoid bathing in hot or cold water – use lukewarm water to avoid aggravating the area. You may need to wait a few days anyway to prevent the accidental early dissolving of your stitches. Avoid antiseptic creams as these are corrosive to new skin and can be painful/can slow down healing. If you want you can use a little salt in your bathroom for antibacterial purposes and you should see a doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection.
You will notice that your penis is sensitive to touch following a circumcision even once the wound has healed. This is because your penis is not yet used to being exposed and is naturally a very sensitive area. Look for soft underwear and loose-fitting clothes and you should find that sensitivity is reduced over time.
The bigger question is perhaps whether this will affect your sex life. Suffice to say that you will notice differences and that you may lose some sensation as a result. The point to remember though is that a circumcised penis is still going to allow for a more pleasurable experience than an overly tight foreskin.
Likewise it’s worth bearing in mind that less sensitivity can potentially improve endurance for the man. This is a potential advantage, but only if you are careful not to become rougher as a result of the change. Take it slow, expect changes, and try to make the best of them.