Recovering from circumcision 

In babies who are circumcised, the foreskin usually takes about seven to 10 days to heal. In older boys and men, the healing process can take up to four to six weeks.

Self care advice

Circumcision is a painful procedure so painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will need to be taken for at least the first three days after the operation. Children aged 16 or younger shouldn't take aspirin.

Circumcision exposes the sensitive skin at the tip of the penis (glans). In babies, nappies can rub against the glans, making it sore. Therefore, tuck your baby’s penis down before securing the nappy. You may be advised to apply an antibacterial cream for up to a week.

After circumcision, the penis will be red and swollen for a few days. You or your child may find it more comfortable to wear loose clothing for a while. Putting petroleum ointment directly on to the area can also reduce irritation.

Boys who've been circumcised shouldn't t ride a bike or use other sit-on toys until the swelling has completely gone down. Your child should be able to return to school about a week after being circumcised. However, you should let his teacher know that he's had the operation.

It's important to practise good hygiene and ensure that your child's nappies are frequently changed after a circumcision. Don't use scented products in the shower or bath and leave the penis to dry naturally.

For adults, the surgeon will also give advice about sexual activity. Sex should usually be avoided until the wound has healed to avoid it reopening.

When to seek medical advice

After your child has been circumcised, speak to your GP if:

  • there's bleeding from his penis
  • his penis remains swollen after two weeks
  • he still finds passing urine painful a few days after the operation

Older boys and men should also see their GP if they have any problems after circumcision.

Page last reviewed: 29/09/2015

Next review due: 29/09/2017