More men getting circumcised for health
Phimosis and build-up of smegma are among main reasons
Circumcisions are commonly carried out for religious or hygiene reasons among children.
But an increasing number of men are opting for the procedure for other reasons, said Dr Muhd Taufiq Rashid, resident physician from DTAP Clinic Group.
According to the Ministry of Health, 1,921 adult and child male circumcisions were carried out in 2017.
This number does not include those done in private hospitals, clinics or by non-medical personnel.
Around one-fifth of these procedures are done for non-religious reasons.
In 2017, it was reported that National University Hospital saw a 28 per cent increase in the number of cases in the last three years.
One reason for men to get circumcised is a condition known as phimosis, where the foreskin becomes too tight and is unable to retract fully.
This may cause pain during sexual intercourse and may also give rise to infections and poor hygiene.
Dr Taufiq told The New Paper: "Most of these (uninformed young men) were not advised by anyone to pull back their foreskin ever.
"As a result, their foreskin becomes too tight and they have no choice but to get circumcised."
One of his patients, a man in his early 20s with severe phimosis, was unable to retract his foreskin at all.
This led to urine ballooning beneath his foreskin before urinating, which made it difficult for him to pass urine.
With phimosis, there is a higher risk of getting balanitis (infection of the penis). There can also be a build-up of smegma, a collection of debris and dead skin under the foreskin. This can be another reason for circumcision.
Dr Taufiq recalled a patient who felt a hard lump on his penis beneath the foreskin.
He never had a reason to retract his foreskin or to realise his condition required treatment.
He said: "During the circumcision, when the foreskin was removed, it was revealed that the hard lump was actually a smegma pearl.
"The smegma had accumulated for so long that it hardened to form a pearl-like appearance."
Dr Taufiq revealed that men who suffer from premature ejaculation also get circumcised to last longer in bed.
With the foreskin removed, the penis becomes less sensitive.
He said: "For some men, the frenulum (attachment between the foreskin and head of the penis) also gets removed.
"The frenulum is responsible for most of the sensitivity in the penis."
Sometimes patients see him only after a "mishap" in bed.
Due to tight foreskin or a tight frenulum, they may experience pain or discomfort during intercourse, and may even get tears or cuts due to tightness and friction.
These tears may get infected and swollen.
When the foreskin heals, it gets thicker, which makes it tighter, creating a vicious cycle.
Dr Taufiq said: "The real solution to this problem is to remove the foreskin as soon as possible.
"After circumcision, they no longer have to worry about tightness or cuts."
Diabetic men are prone to getting fissures or cuts in their foreskin due to poor blood circulation and also poor healing in the extremities.
Another factor is obesity, as their weight predisposes them to recurrent foreskin fissures.
Dr Taufiq said: "Many of them end up having to go for circumcision to solve the problem once and for all."