What issues can be caused by being uncircumcised?

What issues can be caused by being uncircumcised?

In people who have an uncircumcised penis, there may be several issues. Nevertheless, most of these problems can be avoided through the practice of good hygiene and safe sex.

The foreskin is a thin layer of skin which covers the penis head. Circumcision is a surgical procedure for extracting the prepuce. For religious or cultural purposes, some people undergo the procedure but it can also be a way of reducing health risks.

People who are not circumcised and who are not taking proper care of their foreskin may experience some problems that are linked to safety. Read on to find out more about them.


Good hygiene and safe sex can help prevent problems with an uncircumcised penis in men.

Phimosis is where the foreskin around the penis is too tight which prevents it from pulling back over the head of the penis.

The disease usually affects infants, and will change as age loosens the foreskin. It may be due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in adults. This usually does not cause any signs or warrant medical attention.

In some situations, however, this could cause:

  • pain and tenderness around the tip of the penis
  • swelling of the penis
  • bleeding
  • scarring around the penis tip
  • difficulty controlling urination
  • infections

When phimosis causes symptoms, a physician may suggest daily cleaning of the area with lukewarm water. Use of soaps or shampoos is best avoided.

If inflammation happens a doctor may also prescribe creams or ointments containing corticosteroids.


Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin gets stuck under the head and can not pull back over the penis. The tissue around the penis shaft can get tight, causing swelling and discomfort.

Paraphimosis, too, can cause fluid to build up around the region, exacerbating swelling. Paraphimosis can prevent blood from entering the penile tip without treatment.

To avoid complications, it is necessary to look for emergency medical attention for paraphimosis.

Doctors may use a local anesthetic to relieve area pain. Normally, they can help manually restore the prepuce. For severe cases, however, they may need to make a small cut to remove the skin.

Bacterial or fungal infection

Bacteria can build up on the foreskin without regular penis cleaning, and cause infections. Infections can also occur if the foreskin contains a small cut or sore, as a break in the skin can allow microbes to enter.

Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis, and an infection that affects the foreskin is commonly the result. For some point in their lifetime, about 3–11 percent of people can develop balanitis.

The Balanitis signs may include:

  • a sore and itchy penis
  • swelling of the penis
  • pain during urination
  • discharge under the foreskin that is thicker than normal with a foul smell

Antibiotic medicines are the best way to treat penile bacterial infections, whereas in the case of a fungal infection antifungal medicines will be required. Usually, both forms of treatment will be in the form of creams or ointments which a person directly applies to the penis.

Since poor hygiene is the prime cause of balanitis, frequent cleaning of the area is necessary.


As the foreskin is hanging over the head of the penis, it can cause injury. For starters, the foreskin can catch jeans and trousers in the zipper.

Such injuries can damage the skin and probably the urethral meatus, which is the tube within the tip of the penis. Injury to the urethral meatus can cause urination problems. This kind of injury can be very painful too.

If an injury to the zipper happens it is best to see a doctor for care immediately. Pain relievers on- the-counter will help with the pain. A doctor can give a local anesthetic to the patient, too.

Yeast infection

Although yeast infections are more common within females, males under or around the foreskin may be affected. Diverse forms of fungi, including Candida albicans, cause infections of the yeast.

Sometimes yeast infections may occur without symptoms, but in many cases they cause itchiness, soreness, and swelling around the penis. In this area too, rashes and papules may develop.

Some drugs, such as clotrimazole (Canesten) and econazole nitrate (Spectazole), are available for treating a yeast infection. A doctor may recommend these for application directly to the penis as a cream or ointment.


According to the results of the 2017 report, circumcised people are at a lower risk of sexually transmitted infections than uncircumcised men. The research suggests that circumcision can reduce the risk of:

  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • genital herpes simplex
  • trichomoniasis
  • mycoplasma
  • syphilis
  • chancroid
  • HIV

To reduce the risk of these infections, it’s important to use condoms to practice safer sex. Having less sexual partners can also reduce the risk of infection.


As a result many men with an uncircumcised penis have no issues. Through practicing good grooming, most of the problems that come from having an uncircumcised penis are avoidable.

Some tips might include:

  • cleaning under the foreskin every day with warm water
  • avoiding the use of most cleaning products in the area, including soap or body wash
  • changing underwear regularly
  • avoiding the use of talc or deodorant on the penis

No matter if they have been circumcised or not, people should always practice safe sex to reduce the risk of STIs.


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