Jul 26, 2014

Moms Talk: Is Circumcision Necessary?

This week's Mom's Talk discusses this controversial issue for mothers.

Moms Talk: Is Circumcision Necessary?

Circumcision has been common practice in many cultures for thousands of years. It was introduced to most cultures through religious beliefs and rituals. Throughout history it has been used for religious reasons and to prevent disease. In the United States, it is now done to prevent disease and for aesthetic purposes.

For an historical look at circumcision, click here.

When I was pregnant with my son I realized that most of what’s available on the Internet about circumcision is contradictory. There is childish bickering on forums, and Web sites are full of claims, but few real facts.

I needed answers on the topic.

My OB-GYN told me to talk to a pediatrician, and the pediatrician’s receptionist handed me a brochure that appeared to have been printed in the 1980’s. Confused and frustrated at the lack of information I decided to turn to only reliable and credible sources on the internet. I went to the CDC’s website. Click here for the CDC's facts on the subject.

What I found there was interesting. To sum it up, if I understand correctly, the risks of circumcision are very minimal (“In large studies of infant circumcision in the United States, reported inpatient complication rates range from 0.2 percent to 2 percent”).

There seems to be some evidence that it reduces the risk of contracting H.I.V. and a few other sexually transmitted diseases, according to the CDC. “Lack of male circumcision has also been associated with sexually transmitted genital ulcer disease and chlamydia, infant urinary tract infections, penile cancer and cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men. The latter two conditions are related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Transmission of this virus is also associated with lack of male circumcision. A recent meta-analysis included 26 studies that assessed the association between male circumcision and risk for genital ulcer disease. The analysis concluded that there was a significantly lower risk for syphilis and chancroid among circumcised men, whereas the reduced risk of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection had a borderline statistical significance."

When it comes to sexual sensitivity, even the CDC seems unclear of the answer stating, “Well-designed studies of sexual sensation and function in relation to male circumcision are few, and the results present a mixed picture."

Hygiene is also something that is heavily discussed in the circumcision debate, but it seems to me that with a bit of effort, good hygiene is not difficult either way.

Although there seem to be some benefits, it seems clear to me that circumcision is not medically necessary. On the other hand it has been common practice for thousands of years. What was the deciding factor in your decision to either circumcise or not circumcise your son?

Note: I have seen many debates on the subject on the Internet. I understand many of you will be passionate about your opinions but please respect the views and opinions of others.

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