Circumcision (Tuli) is a common procedure that most Filipino boys go through in adolescence. What do you need to know about teenage circumcision surgery?
Circumcision, an overview
Circumcision is a surgery that removes the foreskin or the skin surrounding the head of the penis.
In other countries, such as the United States, parents choose to have their sons circumcised while they are still babies. However, in the Philippines, boys commonly go through it in their pre-teens or early teenage years.
Strictly speaking, circumcision is not “required.” However, it can be used to treat certain conditions like phimosis (tight foreskin) and balanitis (recurrent foreskin infection).
The benefits of teenage circumcision surgery
Some Filipino families consider teenage circumcision surgery a rite of passage: When a boy goes through with it, people believe that he is well on his way to becoming a man. For many boys, the primary motivation for the surgery is that they don’t want to be called “supot,” which essentially means uncircumcised.
However, there’s more to circumcision than just a symbol of manhood. Below are some of the potential benefits of tuli:
- Reduced risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Easier hygiene; with the foreskin removed, it’s easier to clean the penis.
- Reduced risk of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs)
- Decreased risk of penile cancer
- Prevents foreskin infection
However, please note that the health risks of being uncircumcised are rare. Not only that but with proper penile care, the risks can be avoidable.
Things to remember if your son is about to get circumcised
Should your teenage son proceed with the procedure, here are some things to remember:
1. Go to qualified healthcare providers
The first thing you need to keep in mind is your son’s safety. For this reason, only set an appointment with a qualified healthcare provider who can expertly perform the surgery in a sterile environment.
You can talk to your family doctor for more information or inquire about it in the nearest hospital. Likewise, many public and private health institutions offer “Operation Tuli” programs where they gather several doctors to perform circumcision for free.
2. If you can, accompany your child during the surgery
Since the procedure is quick (barely lasting an hour), you might feel that it’s okay for your older child to go on his own. However, as much as possible, accompany them.
This is because your child may be too nervous or tense to listen to aftercare instructions. With you there, you’ll be able to note the doctor’s orders and recommendations.
3. Your son will most likely take pain relievers
The teenage circumcision recovery usually involves pain relievers since the incision site may be painful for a couple of days. In most cases, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen are enough. Follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to pain killers.
4. Advise your child not to bathe or shower immediately after the surgery
It’s best not to take a full-body shower until the 2nd day after the surgery. After that, your son can take a shower or bath as usual but instruct them not to scrub the incision site. The best thing to do is let the soapy water run over the wound.
5. Follow instructions for incision care
To care for the incision site, instruct your son to do the following:
- The wrap-around bandage around the incision site usually falls off.
- If, by the 2nd day after the surgery, it still hasn’t fallen off, soak it in warm water first for about 10 minutes during a bath, and then slowly loosen the bandage.
- After removing the dressing, leave the wound open to the air to dry.
- Apply petroleum jelly several times a day to prevent the site from sticking to clothes.
- Avoid tight clothing that will put pressure on the wound.
- Clean the incision site with warm water. Remind them to always wash their hands when cleaning their surgical wound. Don’t use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in cleaning the wound.
Let your son know that slight bleeding and oozing is normal. Until the wound heals fully (usually after 7 to 10 days), avoid strenuous activities and sports.
These instructions may change, depending on what the doctor said after the teenage circumcision surgery. For example, instead of petroleum jelly, the doctor may recommend an anti-bacterial ointment to prevent infection.
When to seek medical help
Go to the doctor if your son:
- Develops fever
- Experiences penile pain that doesn’t get better with pain relievers
- Has loose stitches or the wound reopened
- Persistent bleeding
- Still doesn’t have normal urination 12 hours after the teenage circumcision surgery
- Has foul-smelling drainage from the surgical wound
Learn more about Adolescence Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.