Posted by: wortix | April 17, 2009


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How do I decide about circumcision?

Deciding whether to have your newborn son circumcised may be difficult. You will need to consider both the benefits and the risks of circumcision. Other factors, such as your culture, religion and personal preference, will also affect your decision.

The information about circumcision in this handout may help you make your decision. After you have read the handout, talk with your doctor about any concerns you have. The decision about whether to have your son circumcised should be made before your baby is born.

What is circumcision?

During a circumcision, the prepuce or the foreskin, which is the skin that covers the tip of the penis, is removed. Circumcision is usually performed on the first or second day after birth. It becomes more complicated and riskier in infants older than 2 months and in boys and men. The procedure takes only about 5 to 10 minutes. A local anesthetic (numbing medicine) can be given to your baby to lessen the pain from the procedure.

Are there any benefits from circumcision?

Studies about the benefits of circumcision have provided conflicting results. Some studies show certain benefits, while other studies do not. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision are not significant enough to recommend circumcision as a routine procedure and that circumcision is not medically necessary. The American Academy of Family Physicians believes parents should discuss with their son’s doctor the potential benefits and the risks involved when making their decision.

A recent AAP report stated that circumcision does offer some benefit in preventing urinary tract infections in infants. Circumcision also offers some benefit in preventing penile cancer in adult men. However, this disease is very rare in all men, whether or not they have been circumcised. Circumcision may reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. A man’s sexual practices (e.g., if he uses condoms, if he has more than one partner, etc.) has more to do with STD prevention than whether or not he is circumcised.

Study results are mixed about whether circumcision may help reduce the risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners, and whether it helps prevent certain problems with the penis, such as infections and unwanted swelling. Some studies show that keeping the penis clean can help prevent these problems just as well as circumcision. Infections and unwanted swelling are not serious and can usually be easily treated if they do occur.

What are the risks of circumcision?

Like any surgical procedure, circumcision has some risks. However, the rate of problems after circumcision is low. Bleeding and infection in the circumcised area are the most common problems. Sometimes the skin of the newly exposed glans becomes irritated by the pressure of diapers and ammonia in the urine. The irritation is usually treated with petroleum ointment (Vaseline) put directly on the area. This problem will usually lessen after a few days.

How do I care for my baby’s penis after a circumcision?

Gently clean the area with water every day and whenever the diaper area becomes soiled. Some swelling of the penis is normal after a circumcision. A clear crust will probably form over the area. It normally takes 7 to 10 days for the penis to heal after a circumcision.

After the circumcision, you may notice a small amount of blood on the baby’s diaper. If the bloodstain is larger than the size of a quarter, call your doctor right away. In addition, you should call your doctor if a Plastibell device was used during the circumcision and the device doesn’t fall off within 10 to 12 days. If there is a bandage on the penis instead of a Plastibell, the bandage should be changed each time you change your son’s diaper. This will help prevent infection. Signs of infection also signal the need to call your doctor. These signs include a temperature of 100.4°F or higher, redness, swelling and/or a yellowish discharge.

When to call your doctor

  • If the wound does not stop bleeding.
  • If your son does not have a wet diaper within 6 to 8 hours after the circumcision.
  • If the redness and swelling around the tip of the penis do not go away or get worse after 3 to 5 days.
  • If there is a yellow discharge or coating around the tip of the penis after 7 days.
  • If the Plastibell device does not fall off within 10 to 12 days.

How do I care for my baby’s penis if I choose not to have him circumcised?

Simply keeping the penis clean with soap and water helps reduce the risk of problems or infections.

In older boys and adult men, the foreskin slides back and forth over the penis, allowing the area underneath to be cleaned. The foreskin doesn’t retract in boys for a few years. Don’t try to force the foreskin to retract, because this can damage the penis and cause problems. When the foreskin is ready to retract, you can teach your son how to retract it himself and clean the skin underneath. He should wash his foreskin every day while bathing.

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  1. The medical evidence has been growing over the last decade that male circumcision offers substantial benefits, not only to the male but to his female partners, in reducing HIV, HPV, and STDs. It’s not a total prophylactic, but it does have substantial health benefits — which, in my view, argues for universal male circumcision.

  2. It’s not a hard decision if you inform yourself. I encourage everyone to go ahead and read all the studies “Provoking Debate” is referring to. Then visit these sites

    and watch either of these videos

    Dr. Dean Edell

    Penn and Teller’s Bullshit

  3. Your report is misleading. What the AAP says is that the possible medical benefits DO NOT outweigh the known risks and harms of circumcision.

    Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body HIS decision.

  4. Babies don’t have sex (hopefully) so cutting bits off their genitalia in preparation for something they should only be doing >10 years down the line is completely unnecessary.

    It is painful, traumatic and in doing so removes a lot of the natural sexual sensation he should be feeling in his penis as an adult.

    This isn’t just robbing him, it is robbing all his future lovers.

    Such penile mutilation causes the glans to harden, so many thousands of sexual nerves are lost, more is needed to attain sexual satisfaction. The lack of foreskin causes drying and friction and most women with experience of natural and cut men say that the sexual technique is a ‘battering ram’ style and long for a partner whose parents left him as he was born.

    If circumcision is medically necessary, fine. <1% of men will ever need it. Condoms are the most effective obstacle to STD transmission; teach him to keep himself clean and respect women, don’t give him surgery mere hours after his entrance to the world – you’re giving him physical and psychological issues for life.

  5. Keep in mind that circumcision removes half the skin system of the penis, about 20,000 specialized fine touch nerve receptors (amounting to the 4 to 5 most sensitive areas of the penis), anti-viral Langerhans cells (shown to form a natural barrier against HIV and other STDs), the Ridged Band, specialized glands and mucosa.

    It often removes or damages the frenulum, analagous to the female clitoris. It abnormalizes the form and function of the penis; although still capable of ejaculation, the circumcised penis has lost about 75% of its sensory and sensual capability.

    And of course, infant circumcision removes the choice of the most important party: the patient himself.

    When it comes to alleged “benefits”, one must look at the empirical evidence: about 85% of the world’s males are intact. Less than 1% of them will ever require surgical intervention on the prepuce. Europe and Asia have lower rates of HIV and other STDs, and do not circumcise. America has one of the highest circumcised populations in the world, and among the highest rates of HIV and other STDs.

  6. Hey Provoking Debate: Get this, there is no debate! On a long enough timeline circumcised men will eventually all die of aids because they think they are bulletproof and are going to keep screwing.

    So by that logic you are advocating mutilation for purely aesthetic or other dubious reasons. There is nothing wrong with foreskin. If we shouldn’t have it why would God (Allah, Yahweh or the Flying Spaghetti Monster etc.) Have loaded it up with thousands of nerve endings.

    In conclusion kids, there are NO benefits to this surgery. Don’t let small minded trolls, or doctors or anyone else tell you otherwise. They are just jealous.

  7. The foreskin is healthy, sensitive, functional, erogenous genital tissue. It contains thousands upon thousands of fine-touch nerve endings similar to those in the fingertips and lips, and of a type not found anywhere else in the penis.

    Culture and Religion don’t justify a WHOLE LOT of unethical behaviors, and infant male circumcision is one of them. That foreskin belongs ONLY to the individual who is attached to it. When that individual is old enough, they should be free to do whatever they want with it, for any reason, be it religious or cultural. But it is unfair to remove healthy, functioning genital tissue from someone who is unable to have a say in the matter.

    Let’s stop doing this to our babies.

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