To Circumcise The Penis Or Not

Should your child have a circumcised penis or not? What are the advantages of circumcision? Is it really necessary? What should you do?

A circumcision is an operation usually performed on infant boys within the first few days of birth. This operation, which has been done for thousands of years for religious or other traditional reasons, involves the removal of the foreskin at the tip of the penis. This operation is usually done with no anesthesia and involves strapping the baby to a flat board to keep him still during the operation and removing the foreskin with a scalpel. The penis usually heals very quickly and no stitches are needed. A piece of cotton or gauze is placed on the wound immediately after and usually falls off within a day. There is controversy among physicians as to whether or not this operation is really necessary and the American Academy of Pediatrics does not advocate routine circumcision for all baby boys. It is the parents decision whether or not this procedure is performed and it is wise to inform yourself of all the stigmas and consequences before your baby is born to help you decide.

While there does not seem to be many reasons for keeping the foreskin, there do seem to be a number of health related interests which support its removal. Circumcision is often done as a religious act or even as a way to make the baby "˜like every one else' so he will not be noted as "˜different' later in life. This is usually not an issue until the child is older and may not even be one at all since many parents are deciding not to have the procedure done on their sons. Circumcision is often done simply because parents are uninformed and go along with what the hospital recommends. Some real concrete arguments for removal of the foreskin include:

A reduced risk of cancer of the penis

Fewer incidences of urinary tract infections during infancy

It is often said that the foreskin can harbor infection due to difficulty in keeping clean underneath, though boys can be shown how to clean this area properly. There is also some belief that babies can be adversely affected by the pain of the operation, though there has yet to be any concrete evidence of this. There is no doubt that the procedure is painful for the baby, as you can well imagine, but infants are quite resilient and there is no evidence that the pain of circumcision is any more harmful to a baby than that of birth when their whole bodies are squeezed through the birth canal.



If you are not certain whether this operation if for you and your baby, your child can always have this procedure done when he is older. If your son feels too different or uncomfortable with his appearance, it is a simple outpatient operation that can be done when he is older. Other than some pain during the procedure, there really does not seem to be any adverse affects to a circumcision, other than a chance of infection at the wound site which comes with any such operation. Decide what is best for you and your son before you are in the hospital being pressured by doctors to do one thing or the other.

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