What percentage of intact baby boys end up getting circed later in life in the U.S.? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 04-23-2011, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is my husband's greatest fear--that if we leave our son alone, he may end up needing or wanting it done later and it will be life shattering.  He's read and heard so many horror stories...

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#2 of 29 Old 04-23-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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i'd say that later in life it will at least be HIS choice whether or not to go for it.

btw, late one night before my son was born i had a long talk with a friend of mine re. the pros/cons of an unsnipped vs a snipped penis. she, being from a land where there's more non-circ guys, was able to give me a comparative run down. her take? uncirced much more fun for sex. who knew?!

 

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#3 of 29 Old 04-24-2011, 01:06 AM
 
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According to the Canadian Paediatric Society the chance of someone needing to be circumcised later in life is 1 in 1,000 and the chance that a circumcision would have to be re-done a second time is also 1 in 1,000. According to their numbers intact or circumcised the chance of needing to be circumcised is the same however, one boy has had to undergo are recover from 2 surgeries.

http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/pregnancybabies/circumcision.htm

The Canadian Paediatric Society uses Phimosis as the main reason for intact men needing circumcision. However, Phimosis only occurs in 1% of men over the age of 18. Phimosis can be cured with steroid cream, stretching or a dorsal slit and can not be properly diagnosed until after puberty. 

http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/phony-phimosis-diagnosis.html

 

Circumcision for "medical" reasons in the United States and Canada are going to be inflated due to the lack of knowledge regarding proper care and function of the intact penis. It would be more accurate to look at countries who have a very low circumcision rate. Since it can be assumed they would view circumcision as a last resort. http://mensnewsdaily.com/2010/05/30/royal-dutch-medical-association-male-circumcision-medically-unnecessary/

 

If he chooses cosmetic surgery later in life he can be put under for the procedure and manage his pain from the procedure. More importantly it will have been his choice. He will know exactly what he is losing and  be choosing to lose it. I would be much more concerned that an earth shattering event would occur if he were circumcised and discovered the foreskins purpose and what he was missing.

Circumcision removes "three feet of veins, arteries and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves and more than 20,000 nerve endings are destroyed; so are all the muscles, glands. epithelial tissue and sexual sensitivity associated with the foreskin. Finally, what nature intended as an internal organ is irrevocably externalized" http://www.salon.com/life/feature/1998/10/26feature.html

http://mensightmagazine.com/Articles/Fleiss,%20M.%20Paul/tellaboutcirc.htm

http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2011/01/confessions-of-circumcised-woman.html

 

 

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#4 of 29 Old 04-24-2011, 05:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by puddle View Post

This is my husband's greatest fear--that if we leave our son alone, he may end up needing or wanting it done later and it will be life shattering.  He's read and heard so many horror stories...


I wonder if your husband has this fear- that if you circumcise, your son might end up needing or wanting his foreskin later.  A man can always choose to have it cut off in adulthood but can never have it fully replaced, even with foreskin restoration.  

 

If it would be life-shattering to an adult who knows what he is choosing to undergo and knows to expect pain, how much more life-shattering would it be to a 1 day old baby who doesn't know what's going on and doesn't understand the pain he's going through (and gets less pain medication, if any)?  An adult's foreskin is already retractable, too.  A newborn's must be ripped away from the glans before being crushed and cut, as it is fused to the glans much like a fingernail is fused to the finger bed.

 

I often hear about parents choosing to circ for that reason: being worried that their son might have to go through the traumatic experience later.  It's equally traumatic, if not considerably more traumatic, to a newborn.  Choosing a 100% chance of circumcision at birth to avoid the 1% or less chance of circ later in life does not make sense.  Heck, even if there was a 20% chance of a man "needing" a circumcision later, it's still better odds than 100%!

 

 

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#5 of 29 Old 04-24-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianneW View Post

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society the chance of someone needing to be circumcised later in life is 1 in 1,000 and the chance that a circumcision would have to be re-done a second time is also 1 in 1,000. According to their numbers intact or circumcised the chance of needing to be circumcised is the same however, one boy has had to undergo are recover from 2 surgeries.

http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/pregnancybabies/circumcision.htm

...


 

 

 

And the National Cancer institute estimates that 12.2 percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at sometime during their lives.  That is 12 women out of 100, or 120 women out of 1000.  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/probability-breast-cancer

Compare that with the 1 in 1000 boys that "may" need circumcision later in life.  Statistically women are 120 times more likely to need treatment for breast cancer than boys needing a circumcision.  Logically it would make way more sense to intervene prophylactically with baby girls than with baby boys.

 

If there are compelling reasons NOT to intervene with baby girls (and I believe there are), then baby boys should be afforded the same protection...

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#6 of 29 Old 04-25-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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It's less than 0.1% of men will ever need to be circumcised.  FAR less than the number of women who will need a hysterectomy.

 

That being said, let's look at both side.

 

Option A: Son is unhappy about having his foreskin.

 

Response: OK.  It's your penis, and you can do what you want with it.  If it's childhood teasing, teach ways to deal with bullies that do not involve cutting off part of your body.  If he is an adult (or close) who truly wants to be circumcised and understands what he will be giving up, set up an appointment with a urologist.  He will likely get general anesthesia and some pretty serious pain meds for after, and the pain he goes through will be voluntary, and with his consent.

 

Option B: Son is unhappy about NOT having his foreskin.

Response:  I'm sorry, we wanted you to "look like dad" and we were afraid you'd be teased (even though 68% of your contemporaries have foreskins).  We didn't trust you to shower or use a condom.  Here's a method that takes 3-4 years to tug some skin, but your frenulum and ridged band are lost forever. 
 

 

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#7 of 29 Old 04-25-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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Even if you could see into the future and be 100% confident that your son would need or want to be circumcised at a later date, that's still no reason to circ him as a baby. Many of the risks and downsides associated with circumcision are much worse when the procedure is being performed on a baby. The only reason it even makes sense to do it to a baby is if you honestly believe that babies don't feel pain. If you want to test out that theory, wait until the baby is born and pinch him good and hard.

 

Though I don't think that even the magical pain relief of being an infant is worth the risks of circ'ing a baby, even if he was definitely going to get circ'd at some point anyway. I mean, sometimes babies die from it!

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#8 of 29 Old 04-25-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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Exactly. Even if I knew my son would want to be circ'd later in life, I wouldn't do it as a baby because it's much safer on a fully-grown organ; if you circ a baby, you just have no idea how big his penis will get later; if it's too tight, that's all the skin he gets and he'll have tight erections and hair on the shaft... a man is done growing so there is no guessing game about size. Also, the foreskin will have already long detached from the head, so there is no excruciating separation with a probe under the skin. I'm pretty sure that as an adult, he can also have a say in whether the frenulum stays, too. Not to mention that blood loss is much more noticeable in an adult and it takes a lot more for a grown person to bleed out than it does for a baby.

 

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Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

Even if you could see into the future and be 100% confident that your son would need or want to be circumcised at a later date, that's still no reason to circ him as a baby. Many of the risks and downsides associated with circumcision are much worse when the procedure is being performed on a baby. The only reason it even makes sense to do it to a baby is if you honestly believe that babies don't feel pain. If you want to test out that theory, wait until the baby is born and pinch him good and hard.

 

Though I don't think that even the magical pain relief of being an infant is worth the risks of circ'ing a baby, even if he was definitely going to get circ'd at some point anyway. I mean, sometimes babies die from it!



 

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#9 of 29 Old 06-01-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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One of our friends "needed an emergency circ" at age 2:(  Of course I am %100 sure he did *need* to be circ'd.  His problem was being born in the early 80's in a very high circ part of the nation.  I dont know if he thinks to much about it, he has quite enough emotional problems as is.  I can only wonder if that traumatic event in his early years has anything to do with it:(  I say, if you think your son has an issue, find a foreskin knowledgeable doctor.  There is a growing list of these foreskin friendly doctors on the internet.


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#10 of 29 Old 06-01-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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Ask your husband  if he would use a knife to lift one of his own fingernails from the nail bed. When he says no, point out that he might get an injury that makes the nail fall off and have a very traumatic time with infection and so forth.

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#11 of 29 Old 06-03-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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It is more likely that a circumcised boy needs a second (or more) operation to deal with circumcision complications, than it is for an intact male to need circumcision later in life. Foreskin problems are very rare, and almost all can be treated without surgery.


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#12 of 29 Old 06-03-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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Another point: your question was "percentage of boys getting circumcised later IN THE US". Worldwide, where most men are intact, the percentage of necessary circumcisions is extremely low. It is much higher in the US. Is this because American penises are a lot different than those in the rest of the world, or is it because circumcision is so ingrained into our culture - even our medical community - that circumcision is the first course of treatment for many penile problems? I have heard of so many infants and toddlers diagnosed with "phimosis", and circumcised because of it. The sad truth is that male babies are BORN with phimosis - the foreskins is attached to the glans, and cannot retract, because it is not supposed to retract. Many doctors even today believe that there is a magic age (usually 3) by which a boy should be retractable, and if he isn't - even if he is having no problems whatsoever - he needs to be circumcised. It's perfectly normal for a boy to not be fully retractable until puberty.

 

This is a long way of saying that your DH's fears are completely unjustified. I'll bet the vast majority of the horror stories he's heard are cases where no other treatment is tried first - or worse, there's no problem in the first place.

 

I often wonder about the number of "later circumcision" horror stories. Considering the high rate of circumcsiion in the US, where did all these intact boys with problems come from? How can it be that parents are afraid that their son will be the only intact boy in the locker room, yet they all seem to know a boy who had to be circumcised later?


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#13 of 29 Old 06-05-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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This is a long way of saying that your DH's fears are completely unjustified. I'll bet the vast majority of the horror stories he's heard are cases where no other treatment is tried first - or worse, there's no problem in the first place.

 

 

EXACTLY !!!   So many of our doctors in North America are totaly ignorant of the normal form and function of a foreskin.  They insist on circumcision for any "problem", be it real or percieved and never offer a more conservative treatment in the rare event of an actual issue.

 

It is hugely telling to note that in Finland less than one in 16,000 men will die without his foreskin!!   Nature had it right !!

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#14 of 29 Old 06-05-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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wayyy too many and 99.99% of the time it wasn't needed.

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#15 of 29 Old 06-05-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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I've found different stats to answer this from all kinds of different studies.
All of them quite small though.

I think that as long as you don't forcibly retract he should be fine.
And if he isn't, and needs one medically, then it would be easier to accept since there would actually be a need for it. (IMO)


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It boggles my mind that we have it so ingrained that a new, fiercely protective parent, would hand their precious son off to be strapped down and have his penis cut for cosmetic reasons. Boggles.

 

I know that my brother was circ'd because they did it wrong. They apparently did not do a complete job of it and a bit of tissue was left, under which it got infected when he was about 6. He said the pain was awful and he had to have surgery to fix it. Somehow the kids at school found out about it. Try that for embarrassing for a kindergartener! 


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#17 of 29 Old 06-07-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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BOTH my boys were left intact. Unfortunately BOTH my boys, despite vigilant attention and care on my part developed a condition known as phimosis, a tightening of the foreskin that prevented the foreskin from retracting. My oldest's foreskin hardly let his urine out, and as a result he got a skin infection and ulceration as a result. His occasional erections became more and more painful. Both my little men had to be circ'd (on the same day) at ages 6 and 7. They had to be put under general anesthesia and had spinal blocks. Stitches are required when your older (not as an infant). YMMV, but if I could have "a do-over" I would of had them circ'd as infants.

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Originally Posted by RealityCheck123 View Post

BOTH my boys were left intact. Unfortunately BOTH my boys, despite vigilant attention and care on my part developed a condition known as phimosis. YMMV, but if I could have "a do-over" I would of had them circ'd as infants.



That's a terrible experience to go through. Fortunately, the risk of such a condition is still considerably less than the risk of serious complications from newborn circumcision, which occur at about 50,000 per year in the US.

 

The incidence of childhood foreskin problems will almost certainly come down as word gets out that it's improper for parents to clean under their son's foreskin, especially letting soap reach such a tender mucosal area. Such cleaning can cause the tissue to react and tighten or crack. At first it seems counterintuitive that this promotes infections, but it does. However, your boys were so young that it's unlikely you had ever seen their glans in your vigilant attention and care. After all, there is no reason for anyone but the boy himself to retract his foreskin, and generally this occurs when he's attained an age where hygiene is his responsibility. I'd be willing to bet the overwhelming majority of parents in Europe attend their son's wedding without ever having seen his glans, and that hand-off approach that serves so well is finally beginning to take hold in North America.

 

 

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#19 of 29 Old 06-07-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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You're right Brant. At the direction of my peds dr I would periodicly attempt to gently retract their foreskins in the bath, but you could tell by looking that it wasn't gonna happen. I was so uncomfortable doing it that the attempts were brief and without any forceing the issue, more like will it? nope. done. I couldn't stand it when the dr would try. i stopped trying myself and had the boys try on their own in the tub with instruction to stop if their was pain. The info I was getting at the time from the dr was that if their foreskins hadn't retracted by then (6 and 7) that they possibly never would. We tried steroid ointments, which in retrospect I wonder if that is what caused DS1's infection. Didn't even get a glimpse of the glans or meatus. Was sent to a urologist that reccomended immediate circumcision for both boys. It's so hard to know what's "normal" when you don't have a penis of your own to compare to and living in the society that we do. I said before that if I had a do-over I would have circ'd them as infants, but probably not. I just feel terrible that they had to be circ'd at the age they were and remember it. I have guilt, though my rational mind knows that my heart was in the right place when I left them intact as infants. I wanted them to make their own choice regarding their own bodies. Damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling. Truthfully, I think the whole experience was more traumatic for me then them. They are resiliant little boogers! At least the urologist did a good job. His stitches were micro-fine and healed without a visible scar.

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#20 of 29 Old 06-07-2011, 05:58 PM
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The biggest problem that the average intact boy will have is that somebody THINKS he has a problem!

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#21 of 29 Old 06-08-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityCheck123 View Post

You're right Brant. At the direction of my peds dr I would periodicly attempt to gently retract their foreskins in the bath, but you could tell by looking that it wasn't gonna happen. I was so uncomfortable doing it that the attempts were brief and without any forceing the issue, more like will it? nope. done. I couldn't stand it when the dr would try. i stopped trying myself and had the boys try on their own in the tub with instruction to stop if their was pain. The info I was getting at the time from the dr was that if their foreskins hadn't retracted by then (6 and 7) that they possibly never would. We tried steroid ointments, which in retrospect I wonder if that is what caused DS1's infection. Didn't even get a glimpse of the glans or meatus. Was sent to a urologist that reccomended immediate circumcision for both boys. It's so hard to know what's "normal" when you don't have a penis of your own to compare to and living in the society that we do. I said before that if I had a do-over I would have circ'd them as infants, but probably not. I just feel terrible that they had to be circ'd at the age they were and remember it. I have guilt, though my rational mind knows that my heart was in the right place when I left them intact as infants. I wanted them to make their own choice regarding their own bodies. Damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling. Truthfully, I think the whole experience was more traumatic for me then them. They are resiliant little boogers! At least the urologist did a good job. His stitches were micro-fine and healed without a visible scar.

 

That must have been a terrible experience.  Unfortunately, you seemed to have been given lots of bad advice.  Most boys cannot retract the foreskin at 6 and 7.  Gently retracting the foreskin from birth can actually exacerbate the problem, causing micro tears and damaging the tissue.  While this is unlikely to occur if it happens from time to time, constant manipulation and forcing back of the skin is contraindicated.  This is the reason why the best care for an intact penis is doing nothing at all.  The median age for retraction is 10 years old.  As far as I know, the steroid cream should only be used by teens and adults.  Phimosis is really a diagnosis for late teens/adulthood.  As long as a child can urinate, it's fine.   So, sorry for the experience, but it's highly unlikely that both boys needed to undergo a circumcision at the same time.  As the poster above me said, "the biggest problem that the average intact boy will have is that somebody THINKS he has a problem!"

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#22 of 29 Old 06-08-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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I said before that if I had a do-over I would have circ'd them as infants, but probably not. I just feel terrible that they had to be circ'd at the age they were and remember it. I have guilt, though my rational mind knows that my heart was in the right place when I left them intact as infants. I wanted them to make their own choice regarding their own bodies. Damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling.

 

I don't think it causes them any problems to be able to remember the circumcision. I know from my own personal experience that you don't need to remember an event in order to be affected by it. And look at those studies that show how people are affected by CIO sleep training all the way into adulthood. I bet none of those adults actually remembered being feeling abandoned and helpless as babies, but it has still shaped their view of the world.

 

If circumcision is going to happen, the older the better.
 

 

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#23 of 29 Old 06-08-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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The info I was getting at the time from the dr was that if their foreskins hadn't retracted by then (6 and 7) that they possibly never would. We tried steroid ointments, which in retrospect I wonder if that is what caused DS1's infection.



Sadly, this is one area that knowledge among the medical profession lags the knowledge that many parents have. At least they're starting to up the age a little... the advice used to be that your sons should be retractible by age 3, which caused untold angst among parents. That advice turned out to be rooted in a fundamental misreading, with frequent repeating, of a study done on Danish schoolboys many years ago. It is now largely understood that there's no "normal" and a tremendous variation in ages. Not only that, some boys are able to bare half the glans relatively quickly, but the more durable adhesions at the corona might not resolve completely on their own until 10 or more years later. That was sort of my case, and everything turned out fine. It's a challenge for intactivists to get the word out to parents and the medical profession that in most cases no determination can be made until at least puberty; phimosis is the normal condition in childhood, and the diagnoses of genuine preputial stenosis or frenulum breve can't be confirmed until adolescence, at least.

 

You sound like a great mom and your deep concern for the welfare of your sons is evident. I hope you'll keep up with the latest on this subject, and one day explain to your sons how and why it's important to keep their children intact and healthy.

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Reality,  Your heart WAS in the right place when you left them intact.  Sadly you were a victim of gross ignorance on the part of the medical profession. It happened to my son, and continues to happen every day.  I keep wondering when they will change what they teach in medical school.  The one small sliver to be thankful for is that our sons were given full anaesthetic, and had access to pain killers afterwards - infants get no relief and I am sure it affects their psyches for life.

 

The other issue that I want to point out is that if phimosis becomes a problem in an older child there is a myriad of treatments that do not require amputation of the foreskin. if you are interested check out:  www.cirp.org/library/treatment/phimosis  ,   www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2490/8/6  . Better still, print them out and go educate that urologist.  And here's one for the ped:  www.cirp.org/library/normal .

 

You sound like a great Mom - your boys are lucky to have you.
 

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I said before that if I had a do-over I would have circ'd them as infants, but probably not. I just feel terrible that they had to be circ'd at the age they were and remember it. I have guilt, though my rational mind knows that my heart was in the right place when I left them intact as infants. I wanted them to make their own choice regarding their own bodies.

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#25 of 29 Old 06-14-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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I don't know about the US, but in Canada it happens more often than you would expect. I'm a teacher and this very topic came up in our staffroom today because one of the teachers had a student who was away for this very reason. He is in Grade 2.  I've been at my school of 600 students for 3 years and have heard of 1 case per year. One of them was my own student. A teacher friend at another school had 2 students in his Grade 5/6 class go under the knife in the same year. I, of course, don't know the reasons for the late circumcisions, but it upsets me to think that they are most likely due to "phimosis" or recurrent infections and probably could have been prevented with the right education and different doctors.

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#26 of 29 Old 06-14-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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It is very unfortunate for the 1 or 2 boys per year in your school -- some of which almost certainly were preventable, as you say -- but it's magnitudes better than knowing that 150 or so more of the 300 boys at your school would have gone through this as newborns if circ rates were what they once were. I have to point that out to parents all the time... when they say "If we don't cut, some of the boys will need it and be traumatized", I have to explain that 1% getting cut later is always a better outcome than 80% getting needlessly circumcised at birth, with 5% of those having serious complications. The complication rate at age 6 and up is virtually nil. I wish no boy ever had to be circumcised, but for us to get to that point there'd have to be a very wide public dialogue and a community commitment (parents and doctors) to best practices. It's still taboo to be too frank about "private parts".

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#27 of 29 Old 06-18-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WantRice View Post

I don't know about the US, but in Canada it happens more often than you would expect. I'm a teacher and this very topic came up in our staffroom today because one of the teachers had a student who was away for this very reason. He is in Grade 2.  I've been at my school of 600 students for 3 years and have heard of 1 case per year. One of them was my own student. A teacher friend at another school had 2 students in his Grade 5/6 class go under the knife in the same year. I, of course, don't know the reasons for the late circumcisions, but it upsets me to think that they are most likely due to "phimosis" or recurrent infections and probably could have been prevented with the right education and different doctors.


I find this rather distressing because numbers like that prove that we still have a huge number of doctors in Canada that are uneducated about foreskins.  Even the CPS states that 1% of intact boys will require circumcision at some point in their lives.  This is in marked contrast to Finland, for example where less that one in 16,600 men will die without his foreskin.  Clearly our medical system in Canada is not treating foreskins correctly. 

 

Just curious - where in Canada are you?
 

 

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#28 of 29 Old 06-19-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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I'm in the greater Vancouver area. 

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#29 of 29 Old 06-22-2011, 11:02 PM
 
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I am in Alberta and I know that B.C. has been ahead of the prairie provinces in the reduction of infant circumcision, and your experience seems to highlight a fear that I have: While more boys are being spared at birth, they are being caught later by the doctor's ignorance of normal anatomy, and a lack of knowlege in how to treat (or not) issues that arise later .  There is one doctor in Vancouver, whose name escapes me right now, who has built up a sizeable business performing hundreds of circumcisions annualy.

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