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Circumcision in adult men may be carried out for:

Medical reasons – circumcision is most commonly carried out when the foreskin is tight and won't pull back (retract), which is known as phimosis; however, alternative treatments, such as topical steroids, are sometimes preferred.

Religious and cultural reasons – circumcision is a common practice in the Jewish and Islamic communities, and it's also practised by many African communities.

HIV prevention – there's evidence that circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men acquiring HIV, and it's encouraged as part of HIV prevention programmes in some African countries with high rates of HIV.

Medical reasons for men to have a circumcision: 

A circumcision is sometimes considered a possible treatment option for the following conditions:

Tight foreskin (phimosis) – where the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans); this can sometimes cause pain when the penis is erect and, in rare cases, passing urine may be difficult

Recurrent balanitis – where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected

Paraphimosis – where the foreskin can't be returned to its original position after being pulled back, causing the head of the penis to become swollen and painful; immediate treatment is needed to avoid serious complications, such as restricted blood flow to the penis

Balanitis xerotica obliterans – a condition that causes phimosis and, in some cases, also affects the head of the penis, which can become scarred and inflamed
cancer of the penis – a very rare type of cancer that can occur in men, where a red patch, wart-like growth or ulcer appears on the end of the penis or under the foreskin

In most cases, circumcision will only be recommended when other, less invasive and less risky treatments have been tried and haven't worked.

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