Circumcision is surgery to remove the skin that covers the head of the penis. This is called the foreskin. Your doctor "pushed" the foreskin from the head of the penis and trimmed it off. Then the edges were sewn down using small stitches that will dissolve. Your doctor may have used any one of a number of techniques to do this. Most people go home the same day as the surgery.
Your penis may swell and bruise for the first 2 days. It is generally not very painful. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are likely all you'll need.
You will probably have a dressing over the area or over your entire penis. Follow your doctor's directions about when to remove it. Wear underwear that is comfortable for you. You may prefer a snug fit for support. Or you might like loose-fitting briefs. The underwear should hold the penis upright. This will help the swelling go down. The swelling usually goes down within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
You can go back to work and your normal routine when you feel ready to.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
- Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk.
- You may shower when you no longer have a bandage on your penis. Pat the cut (incision) dry. You may also take short baths if you wish.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 4 weeks or until your doctor says it is okay.
- You can return to work and normal activities, including driving, when you are comfortable doing them.
- You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
- Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
- Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also get instructions about taking any new medicines.
- If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
- Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
- Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
- Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
- Remove any dressing when your doctor says it is okay. Do this by soaking it off in a warm bath. Wear underwear that is comfortable for you. Some people prefer a snug fit for support, while others prefer loose-fitting briefs.
Ice and elevation
- Put ice or a cold pack on your groin for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the first day. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
- Position your penis so that your underwear keeps it upright.
- Do not have intercourse or masturbate for 6 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay. You will probably have a few erections. They aren't harmful as long as you leave them alone. Do not stimulate the penis.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
- You have chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- Your have loose stitches or your incision comes open.
- Bright red blood soaks through the bandage.
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
- You cannot urinate.
- You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate.
- A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
- Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
- Blood in your urine.
- A fever.
- You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
- You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
- Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
- Redness or swelling in your leg.
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.