Castration generally refers to the removal of organs used in sexual reproduction. It has a number of terms similar in meaning that apply to animal such as: gelding, spaying or neutering. In humans the surgery is either orchiectomy (orchidectomy in UK English; removal of the testes) or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) in male bodied persons or female bodied persons respectively.
"Castration" is a generic term that can refer to either irreversible surgical or chemical alteration. In addition to preventing a person from reproducing; it also greatly reduces the production of certain hormones, such as testosterone or estrogen.
Male castration is usually considered painful, and in some countries is used as torture. It should not be confused with penectomy, which is the whole or partial removal of the penis. "Castration" is not the same as a clitoridectomy, which is the partial or total removal of a woman's clitoris often done in female genital mutilation.
"Castration" may also confused with vasectomy, a procedure to remove part of the the vas deferens (the tubes that connect the testicles to the prostate). This surgery alters the reproductive capability of a male bodied person without alteration of sex hormones.
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