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Having a boy and thought I was sure I wouldn't circ but....

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

Hi guys I was hoping I could get some advice and reassurance. I would really appreciate no judgement, as I know some of you ladies are very passionate about this subject!  So I am having a boy in May and I am so excited!  I was pretty sure that I was not going to circumcise him but now I am having some doubts. Bad I know but I blame the hormones!  So my husband has basically said that he would agree to whatever I thought was best although he does have a slight preference to circumcising him.  Anyway, coming to these boards are what actually made me second guess my decision. It seems like every other thread on here is about redness, infections, painful swelling, urinary tract infections, smelly discharge, lopsided penises do to beads, tight foreskins, etc.  It is really starting to freak me out a bit. I really don't want my son to have to deal with these issues. Since my husband is circumcised I feel like he would have no idea how to deal with these issues if they came up. I certainly won't and as I live in TX the circumcision rate is pretty high except in the latino communities where we don't live.  I don't think pediatricians here would have any idea what to do either and would probably recommend circumcision. I just know that if a doctor recommended it my husband would say absolutely do it 100% and I don't want my son to have to go through that as a toddler.  I have 5 sisters and we never had issues like painful vaginas or smelly discharge and only got UTIs much later on in life.   Anyway, I guess I am just hoping there are women out there who had sons that never had any of these issues.  Is it just part of having a foreskin or is this just a bad sample size? I really feel discouraged reading all the threads on this site.  Sorrry about the rambling I am just second guessing myself. 

post #2 of 57

People post here for support when there are problems.  Those of us who never seen issues aren't posting because there's nothing to say.  Parents of daughters who have yeast infections, labia adhesions, UTIs, etc, post in diapering forums or general health forums.  Parents of intact boys post here.  So the sample is significantly skewed.


Foreskins are normal.  The vast majority of boys won't have any problems.  There are a slew of complications which can arise from circumcision, which is a totally optional cosmetic surgery.  


My intact son's never had a problem. There's a thread here in the forum where folks post to chime in and say just that.  ;)


Here are the old "never had a problem" threads:



post #3 of 57

Hi OP!  Welcome to MDC!


My 3yo is intact, with no issues whatsoever. Like the pp said, most people who post on here are asking for advice, and those of us who have never had any problems, well, we hardly post!


Also, most of the threads (I think) are people asking for second opinions on what their Dr. said, or are asking to make sure something is normal. Most of the time, there aren't any issues - mom's just need reassurance sometimes (me included!!!).


Don't worry, just learn how to care for an intact infant and you'll be just fine , ie wipe what you see, don't retract (although, the foreskin is not going to spontaneously combust - you don't have to treat it like its glass or anything, just do your best not to retract it and your son will be fine. Sometimes people write as though any even miniscule movement is going to tear the penis to shreds - its NOT. Be gentle, be aware, and you'll do great, and your son will not be harmed in any way). Don't let doctors retract him, etc.



post #4 of 57

I don't have much to say since I have not experienced this yet, but I definitely commiserate OP. DH & I are definitely on the fence about this too.

I am currently expecting our 2nd, and I am worried I will have to make this decision too.

Edited by dovemama - 1/31/12 at 9:37am
post #5 of 57

Yeah, I've got 3 intact boys and have never had a problem.  I think the closest we've come to a "problem" is some ballooning in my 2nd, but that's not even a problem.

post #6 of 57

I have two intact sons, and have only had one very minor episode that occured during the summer when we spent alot of time swimming in lakes, etc.  My younger son's foreskin got a bit irritated and swollen. He wasn't a bit bothered by it and we just soaked in the bathtub for a while with baking soda to clear it up. 


I have four intact brothers as well who have never had any problems. And I know because I asked them, lol. My husband is circumcised so, we wanted the opinions of some other intact guys. 


For me it's a matter of it being their own decision to make when they are older, since it's cosmetic and irreversible.  I think it's something a man deserves to be able to have a voice in deciding, I actually used to work at a urology clinic, doing filing, and am aware of a few men seeking circumcision later in life, but not many.  I saw more men come to our office who had problems because of foreskin being too short, or botched circumcision that resulted in decreased sensation.


I also live in a rural southern state where being intact isn't the norm, and it's not something I would spend alot of time talking to my friends about because they are more likely to supportive of the cultural norm.  I have had one ped question me about it, but I think most are fairly up to date, and the rates of circumsion in this continue to decrease.  I believe the AAP actually discourages routine circumcision.

post #7 of 57

13 month old with no issues, and in our culture we don't circ and none of my brothers, cousins, or uncles have ever had any issues either. Like PP said, when nothing is wrong, there is just nothing to talk about.


Also, your pedi doesn't have to do anything to it. 

post #8 of 57

I have 3 intact sons and have never had any issues with health or hygiene.  I agree with PP that in a lot of situations, the medical community sees a problem where none exists (ballooning, tight foreskin, redness, etc.), and parents just want to be reassured.  As long as you are educated about proper care and normal development of the intact penis, then it should not be an issue.  We live in a high circ area too, but have had good luck with our pediatricians.  I think that circumcision complications are much more common.

post #9 of 57

I see you've already been linked to the "Post here if you've never had a problem" threads, but just wanted to chime in that my boys (7, 1.5) have never had any problems with theirs. Their peds have never messed with theirs.

post #10 of 57
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your replies so far.  I feel better about not circumcising him but I still have to think about it some.  I am just so worried about my son actually getting an infection that would need medical care and them just recommending circumcision and having no choice if its between that and him developing a raging infection.  


My husband asked me what I thought the chance was that something would happen that a doctor here would recommend circumcision and I told him I wasn't really sure.  What do you guys think the chance is? Not the chance that he develops something that genuinely needs a circumcision (I know thats rare)  but the chance that he develops something that doctors here would recommend it.   It would really help us make the decision if guys think you could give an estimate just from your observations.   


Thanks again everyone! 

post #11 of 57

I think it would be extremely rare that he would get an infection that an antibiotic wouldn't fix.  Are you interviewing pediatricians?  This is something to bring up with them.


 And if something did occur, I would get a second opinion from a pediatric urologist before doing anything drastic.  With doctors in general, you have to be willing to take things with a grain of salt if you suspect they are being extreme, and never be afraid to get a second opinion, no matter what the situation is. 


Navigating all of this can be stressful, especially in the beginning.  I was pleasantly surprised that after I had my first child, that the instinct to protect my son really kicked in, as did my intuition in knowing when something was off.  You'll know what to do, if and when the situation presents itself. So many things I worried about never did happen.   I would say that you might want to research the complications that can come with doing circumcision.  Maybe if you see that doing it when nothing is wrong opens your son up to more possible harm than not doing it, if that makes sense. 


Any medical procedure has risks, whether it be interventions in childbirth, circumcision, vaccines, etc.  Weighing the risks is part of our job as parents, and truly it's never 'easy', but the right choice for you will become clearer with time. 


Good luck! You can do this mama!


post #12 of 57

I wanted to add that in our culture of circ as the norm, maybe you aren't thinking of how common complications of the procedure are. Infection? easily treated with antibiotics. My son is two and hasn't even had diaper rash. His foreskin is as benign as his right ear lobe, and thinking of cutting off his foreskin is not about the same to me as if we were having heated discussions about whether or not ear lobe amputation is the way to go (lol, but he DOES get pretty dirty behind those ears, so I guess that's why I jumped to that example, sorry but being goofy, not firey, promise!)


My good friend's son had a botched circ, and his penis is in constant pain, and another good friend himself had problems with scarring of the urethra as a baby and had to have surgery to correct. Circ "re-dos" are terribly painful and all too common. I talked to my pedi about it, and this is exactly what she said



"My circumcised patients come in with problems all the time (paraphimosis, too tight circ, skin bridge, etc etc) but in 15 years of practice, I've never had an uncircumcised (her words) patient with any issues." My doctor is indian, and this is what he said:


"I'm not circumcised, my son isn't, nobody in my family is. ALL of my friends who are Indian doctors are intact and there just aren't any problems to talk about"


I wish I could just jump through the screen and give you a big hug though, mama, because those ghosts of our culture are hard to fight. I really, REALLY struggled with it, as though leaving my son born the way he was meant to be would cause him problems. The funny thing about those cultural pressures, at least for me, is that they completely evaporated the second I held my son!

post #13 of 57

Odds are you won't have any problems.  Sounds like you're worrying about a doctor's recommendation (even when you know a real medical reason to circ is extremely rare) and many, many doctors are wrong when they recommend this. 


Well, welcome to parenthood!  :-)  Worrying about our little ones is such a huge part of the job.  Knowing to trust your instincts is also a must part of the job.  I've been there - my son developed a UTI and we had three doc's recommend circ.  At the time our 4 year old son was learning to wipe his bottom and we didn't know he would wipe after pooping and then touch the tip of his penis with the TP to get the drip of pee off.  Thus he kept giving himself the infection.  I never realized I would have the "wipe from front to back" talk with a boy.  ha ha ha!  So, if I had listened to the three docs he would have been cut for no reason.  The urologist I took him to for yet another opinion worked with us on the antibiotic, we figured out what was causing it and all cleared up.  As the urologist said, you can't put it back on.  I had to stand up for him and he is now a very healthy, no more problems, 7 year old who has thanked us for not cutting it off.  Sure, it was a hassle with all the doc visits and repeating over and over "circ is not an option."  But, I found the doc who fixed it without surgery.  Yeah!!!  And, "pphhbbbtt" to all the docs who looked at me like I had three heads when I said we weren't circ'ing. (We also had one yeast infection when he was about a year old but got that cleared up easy peasy.)


Circ'ing him at birth to avoid a bad recommendation from a doc is not going to stop a bad recommendation on something else.  About once a year our son develops sleep apnea and snores like a freight train.  The first time it happened it was recommended that we remove his tonsils and adnoid (sp?).  After a second opinion, we found out he had a massive sinus infection.  One round of antibiotics cleared it right up.  If we had listened to the first doc he would have had unnecessary surgery. We now know when allergy season hits he is going to start snoring.  So, we make the trip to the ped and get it cleared up. 


This is a decision you can't take back.  I also waffled when pregnant with our first son but my husband, after watching the videos and reading that there are not any medical benefits to it, decided no.  Our son can decide how to care for it and what to do with it when he's grown.  I hope he continues to like being whole but if he changes his mind when he's an adult it's his body. 


Congrats on your son.  Even if he develops an issue you find out what needs to be done to fix it without having to have surgery.  And, if it is the rare reason (I actually can't think of any medical reasons but I'm not an expert) then you cross that bridge when you come to it.


Intact care is soooo much easier than caring for an open wound.  You'll get the swing of it in no time!


If you do feels your hormones are making it hard to decide then make the safe choice and leave him whole until you feel you are back to yourself again.  If this is a hard decision just imagine what it will be like if you cut him and then regret it.  Ya know?  I remember crying over the decision, fretting about it.  We also live in a state with higher circ rates.  I didn't want him to be "different."  Now I know he's perfect just the way God made him.  None of our friends kept their son's whole.  They know how we feel and we just don't talk about it.  After your little one gets out of diapers no one will care.


Don't let the what if's scare you - if problems crop up you deal with them.  If they don't, then you haven't wasted energy on them and you can enjoy your little bundle minus the angst


Follow your heart.  Again, congrats!!!

post #14 of 57

I don't have time to read through all the comments, apologies if all this has already been addressed.

I'm in TX also and I promise you plenty of non-Latino babies are kept intact. My blonde haired, Caucasian son was left intact and has never had one problem at all. My dear blonde, white friend is about to birth her second son in a few weeks and he will be left intact like his brother, who has never had problems (they all live in Texas, too). The vast majority of the world leaves their boys intact and they don't ever seem to have problems. We tend to have foreskin problems in the US because we are unfamiliar w/ intactness and tend to go looking for problems where they don't exist. *If* you son did have an infection, you'd treat with antibiotics, not surgery - just like you'd treat a daughter who had an infection. If it makes an difference, I've been a nurse for almost 20 years. I've never once seen a problem with a foreskin in the hospital setting but I've seen several circumcision problems such as hemorrhage and partial gyoulans (tip) amputation.

My advice is to leave your son intact. If you're still undecided, Google circumcision complications, circumcision deaths and then watch a few circ videos. That will probably change your mind.

Good luck

post #15 of 57
Originally Posted by ladyofslytherin View Post

  Anyway, coming to these boards are what actually made me second guess my decision. It seems like every other thread on here is about redness, infections, painful swelling, urinary tract infections, smelly discharge, lopsided penises do to beads, tight foreskins, etc.  It is really starting to freak me out a bit. I really don't want my son to have to deal with these issues.

This! This is why I've been saying for years that Mothering shouldn't have problem threads in the Case Against Circumcision. They should be in "health and healing". If it's post after post of "problem" threads, it really makes this forum more of a Case For Circ for those who don't know how rare foreskin issues are!


post #16 of 57

I have a 18 month old son, intact and no issues ever! I agree with what's been said..the foreskin isn't some delicate thing that can 't hardly be looked it. DS tries to stretch it around his head and it's no worse for the wear! lol.gif

Something to think about... in my circle of mom friends there are circ'ed little guys who have had tons of issues relating to their circumcisions. Two have 'hidden penises' that are just tiny nubs. One has a '10 thousand dollar penis' after needing 2 revisions after a botched circ. Other's have varying degrees of skin gone, some even missing shaft skin. All of the mamas have, or at least had before time erased their trauma, the sick feeling of having gone against their mama bear instincts. When I first met this group of women every. single. one. expressed great sadness about the pain their son went through. Some expressed resentment that their husbands insisted on it. 

post #17 of 57

There's likely to be many more problems with circumcision than with intactness-- most of the 'problem' threads are parents needing a little reassurance.  I've followed them in the past and I cannot think of any that ever required surgery or a complicated treatment- most were resolved with bathtime or diaper creme and more associated with diapering issues than the foreskin. Likewise, I also followed a circumcision debate  board and the numerous circumcision problems that were posted there were disturbing-- the resolution was not so easy.  And circumcision proponents were very hard on parents that did not discuss the results extensively with the doctor before the procedure was started


Let's take a ballpark statistic- even with the threads here that may be scewing the numbers, do you think that 1% of intact boys are having a serious problem?   I don't think the real stat is that high, but it is a starting point...   (and you can see some stats here:  http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/circumcision


Could it be possible that 1% of intact boys might need to be circumcised in their lifetime  - well yes, in the US with doctors misdiagnosing, maybe?  

If you are planning on breastfeeding and your child is full term, than UTI risk is likely negligible- less than if your child is  a girl at least


However... up to 1% of boys that are circumcised need to be recircumcised and there's a chance of other complications 

Wouldn't you be trading one low risk for another set of (greater) risks?   


BTW, the risk figures used to for circumcision only account for immediate problems associated with the circumcision procedure.... they do not talk about ones that occur later on such as:

-3-50% have problems with adhesions

-meatal stenosis that devolops in toddler hood

- problems that would manifest in adolescence or later  (tight skin, hair on the shaft, etc.)

The risks of circumcision seem pretty high to me- and that does not even take into account the benefits of the foreskin or the fact that it is the boy's body and alters sexual function.


If you are worried are doctors... the WHOLE network publishes a list of intact friendly doctors.


BTW... this was a scary article about recircumcision rates:


This may be a local problem for this area, but it does point out that some doctors don't do a good job and nothing keeps them from doing it to more boys

http://www.wtvr.com/wtvr-botched-circumcisions-20110517,0,4411553.story  "Over the past three years, Winslow’s practice has performed more than 1,600 repeat circumcisions. Some are minor fixes, others are major ones."   "there are roughly 4,500 baby boys born in Greater Richmond each year and statistics show 80-90% of them are circumcised"

 1600+/ out of 13,500 boys is a VERY scary high recircumcision rate -more than 11%    (Closer to 15% if 85% of the boys in that area are circed)



Good luck with your decision,



post #18 of 57

Odds are he won't ever get an infection that anti-biotics won't fix. And, even if Circ IS recommended, likelihood is they wouldn't actually perform the circ until the infection was treated anyway.


And when the doc recommends a circ, then you have to see someone else for it anyway - and THAT dr may not recommend it (a regular ped cannot perform a circ past infancy - once a child is more than a few months old they have to be put under general for the procedure, and a ped isn't qualified for that).


Don't worry, likelihood is, you'll never need to worry about it!

post #19 of 57
My son is 16, intact and never had any issues.
post #20 of 57

Another no problems, ever, mama to an intact 9.5 year old son. Never even any minor, normal issues like separation irritation or ballooning -- just none whatsoever.


You also might want to take a look through these forums ---- we've had many, many posts here from mamas of circed boys who have had adhesions, scarring, infections, buried/trapped penis, and more resulting directly from circs. These mamas come here because this is one of the best places on the web to find information on all types of penis problems, especially the consequences of circumcision. What's really sad and telling about our culture is that it's so pro-circumcision that most doctors can't or won't educate parents on the many, many problems that result from circumcision -- including the #1 side effect that happens in 100% of circumcisions, loss of half of the nerve endings and all of the mobile skin and specialized structures of the foreskin. Most doctors don't even know how the intact penis works or what the foreskin is for. And many don't see the side effects of circ -- in many areas ob/gyns do the circs and never see their patients when they come back into the medical system to treat the problems that circumcision caused. Even though this forum is the Case Against Circ many mamas of circed boys come here to ask questions that they haven't gotten answers to elsewhere.


Your son will be a male, just like your dh, obviously, but males and females are more alike than they are different. We all, male and female, have foreskins -- on you and me it's the clitoral hood, and it's also a highly sensitive structure. So you don't even need to think about boys vs. girls, really --- just think, this is my newborn, s/he will be born healthy and normal, and should I cut off any part of his/her genitals at birth just to avoid bad medical advice down the road?


I don't think you'll regret it for a moment when you see your perfect intact son at birth and growing up through the years with his whole body. Like so many of us here with circed dhs and who never saw anyone with an intact penis, you'll not only get used to the intact penis but over time you will realize how totally normal and non-scary it is.

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