Salamat Dok: Boys, circumcision time!

By Dr. Gerald Belandres, Salamat Dok Contributor

Posted at Apr 03 2014 08:58 AM | Updated as of Apr 03 2014 07:05 PM

Summer is the time of the year which most students anticipate.

However, in the Philippines, this is also the season when young boys prepare for a traditional rite of passage - circumcision. This procedure entails the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis.

A widely accepted practice in the Philippines, the procedure is a source of ridicule for some because uncircumcised males are mocked by their peers. The rite signifies manliness - that boys are already "man enough" to brave the pain.

The favorable age for circumcision is as early as eight years old.

In a traditional setting, people living in the rural areas perform the ritual near the river wherein the patient will jump after the procedure.

An old man usually does the procedure with the help of a piece of wood inserted to the foreskin. During the process, the uncircumcised boy will be asked to chew guava leaves as he readies himself, to alleviate the pain.

By the use of a razor (labaha), the old man then partially slices the foreskin just to expose the penile glans.

The boy will then jump to the river to allow the pain to be alleviated by the coolness of the water. It will also minimize bleeding by letting the blood vessels constrict.

Modern circumcision, however, allows for the use of painkillers and can be seen as less savage.

Doctors would usually talk to the young boy about the procedure and let him decide when he will be ready to undergo it.

During the process, doctors inject painkillers to block pudendal nerves that give pain. This is called "painless circumcision."

Only considered a minor procedure, the circumcision need not be done in an operating room.

Few simple tips for postoperative care.

• First, patients should leave the doctor's office in tight-fitting underpants, to keep his surgical dressing firmly in place.
• After the surgery, when the effects of anesthesia subside, use loose garments to avoid direct contact on the surgical site.
• Continue taking the antibiotic prescribed to prevent infection, and use oral pain relievers as needed.
• Clean and disinfect the surgical site with antiseptic solution and cover with sterile gauze to prevent infection.
• In cleaning, it is an option to wash the affected area with boiled guava leaves. The leaves should be allowed to cool before usage.

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