Adult Circumcision: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Natural penis and circumcised penis

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. He or she sewed down the edges using small stitches that will dissolve. Your doctor may have used any one of a number of techniques to do this. Most men 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, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are all you usually 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. Some men prefer a snug fit for support, while others prefer 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 return 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?

Activity

  • 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.

Diet

  • 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).

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • 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.

Incision care

  • 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 men 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.

Other instructions

  • 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 are not 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 or nurse call line 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 severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have a fever over 38°C.
  • Your incision comes open.
  • Bright red blood soaks through your dressing.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin.
    • A fever.
  • You find it hard to or cannot urinate.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You are worried because the swelling is not getting better.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 24, 2016