Monday, September 22, 2014

Circumcisions: Health Benefit or Genital Mutilation?

Number of Circumcisions Have Dramatically Declined in Recent Years

When you're about to give birth to a boy, there's a decision that must be made-- to circumcise or not? In the past, just about all male babies were circumcised, but now circumcisions throughout the United States have decreased dramatically. According to Charge Data Master, circumcisions declined by almost 55 percent in 2010. The discussion of circumcisions among parents is now a hot debate as the once thought health benefits of circumcisions are now not believed to be as relevant, causing many parents to label circumcisions as a form of genital mutilation.

Possible Health Benefits
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are several health benefits associated with circumcision. In August of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy stating that the risk for urinary tract infections during the first year of life is about 1 in 1000 for children who are circumcised, while the risk is every 1 in 100 for those who aren't.

Also, circumcisions appear to reduce the risk for penile cancer, add protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and lower the risk for contracting HPV by as much as 40 percent. There are also findings that circumcisions aid with hygienic benefits.
 
Possible Risks
The debate over the necessity of circumcisions not only stems from the possible health benefits, but the possible risks as well. Naturally, there are pain and discomfort associated with removing the foreskin; although, anesthetics are commonly used. In 2004, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published findings that even when anesthetics are used, a baby's heart rate decreases.

Circumcisions hold the risk for infection, bleeding, scaring, curvature of the penis, and skin adhesion, which is said to occur in 2 out of 16 circumcisions according to a study published in BMC Urology.
Fuel is added to the circumcision debate as there are several lawsuits regarding mutilation and botched procedures as it's difficult for doctors to determine how much of the foreskin is to be removed.

Beneficial or Genital Mutilation?
Despite the obvious pros and cons to circumcisions, parents remain torn over whether or not the procedure is necessary. Some feel the health benefits outweigh the risks or choose circumcision for religious reasons. Others, however, feel the benefits aren't worth causing a child unnecessary pain and often place circumcisions in the same category as genital mutilation.

No matter where you stand on the debate, it's important to properly education yourself over the benefits and risks of circumcisions.

Where do you stand on the circumcision debate?

6 comments:

  1. Misinformation. The "possible health benefits" have been debunked several times over. turns out there is no health benefit AT ALL, and it is actually quite harmful. And let's not forget...HUMAN RIGHTS.

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    1. I tend to agree. I think the lack of current education is a huge factor. Parents need to be educated before they make a choice that can't be undone.

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  2. Also, the article doesn't mention another possible risk: DEATH. 100+ infants die per year in the united States as a result of routine infant circumcision.

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    1. You are absolutely right. Not to mention the "accidents" that cause permanent damage due to botched procedures. I tried to keep my position in the article as neutral as possible. But, I could go on all day about it.

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  3. I live in Northern Europe. Here circumcision is viewed as disgusting abuse by both parents and medical community. So our men walk around with their whole bodies, people have very free attitude towards sex and yet our STD and HIV rates are much much lower than in circumcising USA. So...sorry to say but what benefits? What this article fails to mention is that circumcision started in USA 100+ years ago to prevent boys from masturbating. Medical literature was full of comments like this ; "In cases of masturbation we must, I believe, break the habit by inducing such a condition of the parts as will cause too much local suffering to allow of the practice being continued. For this purpose, if the prepuce is long, we may circumcise the male patient with present and probably with future advantage; the operation, too, should not be performed under chloroform, so that the pain experienced may be associated with the habit we wish to eradicate." Athol A. W. Johnson, On An Injurious Habit Occasionally Met with in Infancy and Early Childhood, The Lancet, vol. 1 (7 April 1860): pp. 344-345.
    Or how about this?
    "In all cases of masturbation circumcision is undoubtedly the physicians' closest friend and ally ... To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, consequently the greater the benefit gained ... The younger the patient operated upon the more pronounced the benefit, though occasionally we find patients who were circumcised before puberty that require a resection of the skin, as it has grown loose and pliant after that epoch." E. J. Spratling, Masturbation in the Adult, Medical Record, vol. 24 (1895): pp. 442-443.
    Of course today circumcision is multibillion industry for doctors and for medical companies. Babies foreskins are sold with big price from cosmetic firms to bio-companies.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your insight and thoughts on the topic. It seems, there is a much larger issue at hand than I originally thought.

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