The Benefits Of Circumcision

The advantages and disadvantages of circumcising your baby boy

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should be presented with unbiased materials concerning circumcision and make the decision for themselves. This, of course, is after examining the newborn male and determining that it is not medically necessary to go ahead and circumcise.

Biblically speaking, God implemented circumcision with Abraham as a sign of the covenant between God and man. This cutting away of the foreskin represented the cutting away of the flesh and submission to God and His will. Interestingly enough, every "law" that God implemented in the Old Testament of the Bible usually had a "health" reason to back it up. Circumcision served as a mark of the covenant and also served the same purposes that people today choose it: for cleanliness and hygiene. Jews and Christians both circumcise their baby boys, though in the past couple of decades the number of uncircumcised males is increasing with Christians and non Christians alike.

The circumcision procedure is when the foreskin of the penis is removed or cut away. The area around the penis is cleansed, and an anesthetic may be injected into the base of the penis. This injection stings a little but will block further pain. The doctor places a clamp designed for newborn circumcision around the foreskin or uses a specially made plastic ring. After the removal of the foreskin the tip of the penis appears red and is sore. Ointment medications are applied, and a gauze strip is loosely placed around the area. If the plastic ring is used, it will remain on the penis until the area is healed, usually within a week.

There are several disadvantages of circumcision, and these make up some of the reasons parents choose not to circumcise. This section could also be titled the advantages of uncircumcision.

EXCESSIVE BLEEDING & PAIN

During the procedure, there is some bleeding as the foreskin is cut away. Out of 1,000 patients one is treated with pressure or locally acting agents. Out of 4,000 patients one may require a ligature, and out of 20,000 one may require a blood transfusion. In most of the cases of a blood transfusion, a pre-existing blood condition was found to have caused the excessive bleeding. Also, it's a given that a baby will feel either the pain of the procedure itself or the needle stick of the anesthesia.

INFECTION

As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of infection. Statistically only 1 in 500 get infected and need antibiotics. One in 4,000 need antibiotics via intravenous or intramuscular injection.



REPAIR OF DAMAGED CIRCUMCISION

The percentage of those needing a repair surgery after a circumcision is very small. Only one in 1,000 are needed for skin repair (from either too much or too little skin removed). One in 15,000 have a damaged penis, and very rarely one in 1,000,000 will loose the entire penis due to an incompetent doctor. On the side of uncircumcised, if the parents make a conscious effort to keep the penis clean and teach the child as he gets older, this will improve his chances of staying healthy throughout his life with his foreskin intact.

CLEANLINESS

It is easier to keep a circumcised penis clean. You don't have to pull back the foreskin, which can't be forced back until a male child is older. Good hygiene is a must for both the circumcised and uncircumcised.

URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS

Circumcision helps prevent urinary tract infections in both males and their female partners. Urinary tract infections early in life can lead to kidney problems later. Urinary tract infections account for a large percentage of "unexplained" fevers in uncircumcised males. It is a documented fact that uncircumcised males are 10 times more likely to come down with a urinary track infection than circumcised males.

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND HIV

Studies in recent years have shown that the percentage of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases are lower in circumcised males. This is due to the fact that the foreskin causes an environment conducive to germs if germs are introduced.

CANCER

A circumcised male is virtually risk-free for penile cancer. However, for the uncircumcised male the chances of coming down with penile cancer are fewer than one in 100,000. Studies have also shown that women are at a greater risk of cervical cancer with an uncircumcised male partner. Another advantage to being circumcised as a baby is that an average of 4% of all uncircumcised males will have to undergo circumcision later in life due to inflammation of the foreskin or the foreskin adhering to the tip of the penis.

Once circumcision has taken place and the penis has healed, the risks of the procedure itself are completely gone. However, the uncircumcised male has to be concerned with the issues mentioned above, though those risks are minimal. Of course, there are many men both circumcised and uncircumcised who live their entire lives with no problems. Ultimately, the decision to circumcise a baby boy lies in the hands of his parents.

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