Circumcision Pros and Cons

Circumcision is a procedure in which the fold of skin covering the head of the penis, also known as the foreskin, is removed. The duration of this procedure is around 10 minutes and it can be performed under local or general anesthesia. This article will talk about the circumcision pros and cons. It will be easier to decide whether to go ahead with this procedure for your son, once you read this article.

About Circumcision

Right from the birth, the head of the penis, also called as the glans, is covered with skin. This is called the foreskin, which retracts over the head of the penis. In Circumcision, this foreskin is removed surgically, leaving the head of the penis exposed.

The percentage of boys getting circumcision varies geographically and also depends on the religion. About 55-65% of newborn boys are circumcised every year only in the United States. The number is higher in the North Central Region as compared to the Western region. Besides the United States, the procedure is more common in Canada and Middle East, followed by Asia, South America and Central America. The procedure is not very common in European nations.

Reasons to Have Your Boy Circumcised

Various religions have circumcision as a cultural ritual and it is almost like a mandate. Men practicing the religion of Islam or belonging to Jewish culture undergo circumcision. Aboriginal tribes from Africa and Australia also circumcise the boys. Sometimes the reason for this procedure is to follow family tradition, maintain personal hygiene and also as preventive health care. In some parts of Africa, it is done in older boys and men as well, and it is said to be done to reduce the risk of getting STDs. Circumcision is done for medical reasons, when the foreskin does not retract back over the head of the penis, because it is too tight.

The pros of Circumcision are more than the cons as per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They recommend using anesthetics for infants when the procedure is being done and leave the decision to perform it on the parents. They do not think that all newborn males should undergo this procedure.

Circumcision Pros and Cons

A lot of myths exist regarding the pros of circumcision, rather than the cons. This makes people avoid this simple procedure and some are even scared to undergo it. In this section we can the pros and cons of circumcision are listed here with their details, accuracy and facts.

Pros

  • For faith. Religions like Islam and Jewish advocate the practice of circumcision
  • For family resemblance. This is done when the other older men of the family are circumcised and the child does not feel ‘different’ in any way.
  • For hygiene improvement. Circumcision helps in maintaining better hygiene and the chances of developing Urinary Tract Infections are greatly reduced.
  • For prevention of phimosis. Phimosis means having a tight foreskin. In this condition the foreskin does not retract over the glans. It can become painful. Circumcision will remove the fore skin and this problem can be avoided.
  • For prevention of AIDS, STDs, UTIs and cancer of the penis. Circumcision can have an impact on the incidence of contracting conditions like AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), UTIs, and sometimes even cancer. It can also reduce the risk of contracting the penile human papillomavirus (HPV)

Cons

  • Pain. The pain felt by the infants during circumcision is the same as felt by the adults and can have long lasting effects. It can be severe and even remain persistent with no effect from painkillers. The pain can also be interpreted by the baby’s brain as being caused by the mother and this will lead to a deteriorating in the mother-son bonding. The pain causes the infant to breast feed less often. This can result in failure to breast feed also.
  • Loss of sensitivity. Circumcised penis has lesser sensation than penis which is not circumcised. However, this determination is very subjective. Since almost one third of the penile skin is removed, there is a significant change in the sexual functioning. Intercourse can become painful and increased time is required to reach orgasm. Men who has been circumcised during infancy may not appreciate the circumcision done by the parents and may look at it as mutilation.
  • Immediate risks and complications of surgery. Almost 2-10% cases of circumcision may have complications or risks that develop after surgery. These are usually not reported or are over looked. Some of these include – chordee lacerations, gangrene, hemorrhage, meatitis, necrosis of the glans, penile loss sepsis, skin bridges, skin loss, stenosis and urinary retention.
  • Against medical ethics. Medical ethics state – First do no harm – and circumcision involves removal of a normal and functioning body part. Hence it falls against the Medical ethics.

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