Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is a sheath of skin that covers the tip of the penis.

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Circumcision may be done for cultural or religious reasons. It is usually done during the first few days of life. Circumcision may be done on older boys as a treatment for medical problems. Problems may include foreskin that is too tight or foreskin that cannot retract.

Circumcision may be associated with a decreased risk of:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Phimosis—tightening of the foreskin, which can be severe enough to close off the opening to the penis
  • Penile cancer
  • Cervical cancer in sexual partners
  • Certain sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV

Talk to your doctor about the risk and benefits of circumcision for your child.