Circumcision: The Pros and Cons to Help Make This Decision
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As parents, whether or not to have your son circumcised is a decision you’ll be asked to make, and one that can be controversial. Here are some arguments from both sides of the debate:
What Is It?
- Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin—the double layer of skin and mucous membrane covering the tip of the penis.
- During the first year, urinary tract infections occur less frequently in boys who are circumcised
- Circumcision is more complicated and riskier when performed later on older boys and men
- The tradition of circumcision is an integral part of some religions
- Some studies have shown circumcision reduces the risk of HIV in heterosexual males
- Circumcision may decrease the incidence of herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Removal of the foreskin may lower the risk of cervical cancer in female partners
- Penile infections and irritations are less common in circumcised males
Don’t Do It
- No major medical group in the U.S. advocates routine circumcision for newborns
- Circumcision may decrease sensitivity in the penis and reduce sexual pleasure
- There is pain associated with newborn circumcision when no anesthetic is used
- Leaving the foreskin intact helps protect the penis from chafing and irritation
- Some believe it’s unethical for parents to make this decision for their child
- Like any surgery, circumcision is associated with some risks, including instances of bleeding and infection
- Regular bathing and good hygiene habits are all that’s required to prevent infection in an uncircumcised male