Male Circumcision

While male circumcision is a controversial topic due to religious and cultural views, there is no medical evidence to support health benefits from its routine practice. Not a single medical society in the world recommends it be routinely performed.   The US is the only country in which it is routine. Rates are declining and only 50% of the male population is circumcised. Worldwide, 80% of men are intact making circumcised males the clear minority.


RATIONALE

Some religions require male circumcision.  In these cases, it is usually performed on the 8th day of life.  Newborn levels of vitamin K peak on the 8th day.  Vitamin K helps the blood to clot, which is especially important when subjecting your new son to a surgery.  If you choose to circumcise before the 8th day, it is well advised to administer vitamin K to prevent bleeding complications from the surgery.


REALITY

When not completed for religious reasons, there is no basis for circumcision.  It is strictly a cosmetic procedure.  It was not until WWII that circumcision became routine for soldiers to prevent infections from unsanitary conditions.  Its practice then spread to newborns thereafter. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has also reversed its position and no longer supports circumcision.  Their full text position statement is available at: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics%3b103/3/686. For a full review of circumcision, including how it is performed, visit www.circumcision.org



Documented risks

A recent study by Bollinger (2010) found that approximately 117 neonatal (death within the first 28 days after birth) circumcision-related deaths occur in the US annually, or 1 in 77 male neonatal deaths is due to circumcision. To put this in perspective, about 44 neonatal males die each year from suffocation, 8 from vehicle collisions and 115 from SIDS, all less than the number of deaths from circumcision.


Because circumcision is a voluntary, elective procedure, each of these deaths are completely preventable. The study concluded, "These boys died because physicians have been either complicit or duplicitous, and because parents ignorantly said "Yes," or lacked the courage to say 'No.'"


Other documented risks include:


- INTOLERANCE TO PAIN AT 6 MONTHS POST-SURGERY
- INTERFERENCE WITH BREASTFEEDING AND FEEDING IN GENERAL
- IMPOTENCE
- INFECTION
- CHORDEE (CURVATURE TO ONE SIDE)
- FOURNIER'S SYNDROME
- STAPHYLOCOCCAL SCALDED SKIN SYNDROME
- PEYRONIE'S DISEASE


SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Consider this decision well and wisely.

If no religious reasons exist, then seriously consider declining the procedure.



References


Bollinger, Dan. Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths. Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies 2010; 4; 78-90.

Brady-Fryer B, Wiebe N, Lander JA. Pain relief for neonatal circumcision. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004217. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004217.pub2.

British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Surgeons of England and Royal College of Anaesthetists. Statement on male circumcision. London: Royal College of Surgeons of England, March 2001.

M Fox and M Thomson. A covenant with the status quo? Male circumcision and the new BMA guidance to doctors. London: JME 2005; 31; 463-469.

Pain and Your Infant: Medical Procedures, Circumcision and Teething, University of Michigan Health System, February 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2007.

Weiss, HA; Thomas, SL; Munabi SK; Hayes RJ (Apr 2006). "Male circumcision and risk of syphilis, chancroid, and genital herpes: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Sex Transm Infect 82 (2): 101-9. PMID 16581731. 

Fergusson, DM; JM Lawton and FT Shannon (April 1988). "Neonatal circumcision and penile problems: an 8-year longitudinal study". Pediatrics 81 (4): 537–541. PMID 3353186. Retrieved on 2007-07-18. 


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