The surgical process of removing the tissue that covers the penis head or foreskin is known as circumcision. This procedure began during the ancient times for religious reasons. Today, parents may choose to have their sons circumcised for the same religious reasons or others.
This procedure is generally completed when the male infant is two or three days old. If the circumcision is being performed on a Jewish child, the process is usually completed when the child is eight days old. The older the male child becomes, the more dangerous the procedure may be.
The benefit of circumcision is something that is continuously being debated among parents and healthcare professionals. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently recommended that newborns are not circumcised as the health benefits do not appear to be significant enough. However, they have recommended that the procedure may be done in older patients to treat an infection. Recent studies have concluded that parents prefer to have their sons circumcised not only for appearance purposes, but because they feel the benefits of circumcision far out weight the risks that are involved.
It is highly suggested that parents speak to their healthcare professional regarding the risks and dangers that are associated with circumcision. Other factors that can assist with the parent’s decision are their religion, culture, and personal preferences.
Some of the health benefits associated with circumcision includes:
- Prevention of the inability to retract their foreskin, referred to as phimosis.
- The inability to return the foreskin to its correct location, referred to as paraphimosis.
- A decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases in men.
- A reduced risk of urinary tract infections.
- Increased protection against cancers of the penis.
- Decreased risk of cervical cancer in their female mates.
- Increase prevention of developing inflammation of the glans, referred to as balanitis.
- Increased prevention of developing inflammation in the foreskin, referred to as balanoposthitis.
Circumcision can also help the male keep the end of his penis properly cleaned. Some research has shown that proper hygiene can help prevent issues with the penis. This can include swelling and infections.
Just as there is health benefits associated with circumcision, there are also risks and drawbacks. Prior to making a decision to circumcise your child, you should understand all of the positives and negatives. Some of the negatives that surround this surgical procedure include pain, the risks of bleeding and infection at the circumcising site, irritation of the penis glans, and an increased risk of inflammation to the opening of the penis, called meatitis.
While many parents are concerned about the pain associated with circumcision, studies have found that very few infants remember the pain that they felt at that young age.