Infant circumcision has become a topic of intense debate in the United States. Some people are of the opinion do not have the right to alter a boy’s body in any way. Others believe circumcision should be equal to getting children vaccinated. One thing is certain. The overall rate of infant circumcisions in the United States has declined in recent years. There are pros and cons to circumcision, so it’s up to the parents to decide what they think is best.
The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a statement in 2012 declaring the advantages of circumcision outweighed the disadvantages. Men who were circumcised earlier in life have a reduced risk of developing certain medical complications. Research has suggested circumcised males have a reduced risk of getting prostate cancer. Studies have also found circumcision can help lower the risk of contracting HIV. The risk of getting a urinary tract infection also lessens.
Overall, circumcised men have fewer medical conditions to worry about with the removal of the foreskin. One important factor to bear in mind for all this is that many of these studies took place in Africa. It is possible the results will not transfer over to men in the United States. Further research is necessary before people start assuming they will definitely not contract any diseases following circumcision.
One benefit men gain with circumcision is that it becomes much easier to keep the tip of the penis clean afterward. Men need to regularly clean their penises to reduce the risk of complications. One common condition that develops with men who do not do this is the formation of smegma. This is a white substance that forms around the tip of the penis. Anyone can get it, but uncircumcised men have a greater risk.
Additionally, there are inflammations that can develop within the foreskin that is prevented with circumcision. For example, balanitis is an inflammation within the glans penis while balanoposthitis is
While there are plenty of benefits to consider, there are just as many downsides to consider. Although surgical complications are rare at the time of the circumcision, they do occur. Some estimates suggest anywhere between 0 and 3 percent of all circumcisions result in some complications. This can include pain and bleeding at the site. Infants also have an increased risk of meatitis, which is an inflammation around the opening of the penis. Complications are more likely to occur if the foreskin was cut too short or too long. Parents who do decide to pursue circumcision need to ensure the person doing it has sufficient experience.
Many people are also concerned about how circumcision will affect a man’s sexual health later in life. While more research is necessary, circumcision does involve the removal of thousands of nerve endings in the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin may also aid the woman during sexual intercourse. The extra skin adds more stimulation and friction to the clitoris during intercourse, which means both partners may get some extra pleasure.
Finally, there are ethical concerns to address. The parents are choosing to permanently alter the infant’s body without his consent. The boy may grow up and resent the fact he does not have a foreskin. This can create resentment the boy has toward his parents later in life. All people should have a right to their body autonomy. Even if circumcision is being performed for cultural or religious purposes, it may be best to let the boy decide later on whether he wants to be
What Should Parents Do?
All parents are different. Even if everyone in your family tree has been circumcised, it may be good for you to reconsider