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Boyz In Da Hood - The 411 on Circumcision

Foreskin on or foreskin off? Why are some guys hooded while others aren't? Is one way healthier than the other? Here's the skinny on why some boys are circumcised while others aren't.

What Is Circumcision?
Boys are born with a hood of skin, called the foreskin, which covers the head of the penis. When a boy is circumcised, this piece of skin is surgically removed, so the end of the penis is uncovered. A circumcision is usually performed during the first 10 days of a boy's life, either in the hospital or at home, if the circumcision is being performed as as part of a religious ritual.

The Procedure
As you can probably guess, circumcision isn't exactly an enjoyable experience - not like playing video games or taking a day off school. The baby boy is placed in a padded chair by the doctor and an anesthetic is put on the penis to minimize the pain. The doctor then slits the foreskin and inserts a device under the foreskin to hold it away from, and protect the head of the penis. The doctor then quickly cuts the foreskin (ouch!) and covers the cut with an ointment to prevent infection.

So Why Cause Boys Pain?
Circumcision certainly is painful, but boys around the world have been circumcised for thousands of years for various religious and cultural reasons. Some people think removing the foreskin from a boy's penis is healthier than leaving the foreskin attached. While it is easier to keep a circumcised penis clean, a boy with a hood can easily keep his penis clean and maintain penile hygiene by lifting the skin and washing the head of the penis. In most cases, a penis is no healthier with the foreskin than without the foreskin.

Circumcision is much more common in the North America and the Middle East than it is in Asia, Central America, South America and most of Europe.

Did You Know...?

  • In some cultures, boys aren't circumcised until they are teenagers and are not given any anesthetic.
  • A piece of foreskin has more than three millon cells and 50 nerve endings.
  • In the 1800s, many people believed circumcision to be a cure for alcoholism, blindness and other ailments.

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    Percent of US Babies Who are Circumcised?

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