Maybe an urban legend? - Mothering Forums
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The Case Against Circumcision > Maybe an urban legend?
pranava's Avatar pranava 06:46 AM 12-01-2011

Everybody seems to know someone who had a friend, uncle, whoever that had to be circ'ed as an adult due to infection.  And they always say " It was so not good for a man age XX to have to go through that!"  (like it's any better for a baby! but anyway)  I've begun wondering if this is just an urban legend.  Sure it has happened to some adult men, but could everyone really know someone that this has happened to?  Maybe there are a handful of guys that are just really famous?  Or maybe it's just not ture?

 

My response is always, well at least as an adult he didnt' have an open wound that then gets covered in poop multiple times a day and has to be scrubbed clean.



LonelyPageTurnr's Avatar LonelyPageTurnr 06:49 AM 12-01-2011

I suspect it's a mixture of both.  I do believe there are a lot of elderly men who are getting poorly cleaned in nursing homes. Women, too.  So they (the men) 'need' circumcision (as opposed to better healthcare providers??? Uh ok.).  I think there are probably a good portion of people who know of that happening to a family member or a friend's family member, but I also don't think it's quite as prevalent as made out, either.  Otherwise we'd be overrun by all the elderly foreskins.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranava View Post

Everybody seems to know someone who had a friend, uncle, whoever that had to be circ'ed as an adult due to infection.  And they always say " It was so not good for a man age XX to have to go through that!"  (like it's any better for a baby! but anyway)  I've begun wondering if this is just an urban legend.  Sure it has happened to some adult men, but could everyone really know someone that this has happened to?  Maybe there are a handful of guys that are just really famous?  Or maybe it's just not ture?

 

My response is always, well at least as an adult he didnt' have an open wound that then gets covered in poop multiple times a day and has to be scrubbed clean.



 


Imakcerka 08:38 AM 12-01-2011

Well... I know lots of women who have had hysterectomies in their 40's... I wonder if they had all that removed as babies if they would be in the situation they're in now... and people that had their tonsils removed or teeth pulled... or appendix taken out.  All adults.  Crap we should just remove all parts just in case!


hildare's Avatar hildare 10:15 AM 12-01-2011

i know of someone to whom this happened.

i think some of the issue is that in an older generation when there were problems with a penis, the "easiest" thing to do was circ the older kid/adult.   now we have better treatments, steroid cream, etc.  i think that the remedy for whatever problem that happened back then might have been just to circ. 


MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar MCatLvrMom2A&X 12:33 PM 12-01-2011
Considering how circ happy Dr's can be I have no doubt there is a lot of adults who are circed for no real reason. My dh had an uncle who was circed in his 60's I dont know what the reason was but I do know that the Dr. took so much off that he ended up having to go back to get a skin graft.

I have heard of circ's happening due to yeast, phimosis (without ever trying any other non invasive treatment) I have yet to hear of a truly medical reason for circ in older boys/men.
ma2two's Avatar ma2two 01:04 PM 12-01-2011

I think it was and probably still is very common for doctors to look for any excuse to circumcise.  I also think that the majority of problems are caused by repeated forced retractions in infancy and young childhood.

 

So I don't think it's an urban legend, unfortunately.

 

But I think it's extremely rare for someone who wasn't repeatedly forcibly retracted to have a problem that actually requires circumcision. And even for those with problems caused by retraction, I'm sure the vast majority can be treated in other ways besides circumcision.


Night_Nurse's Avatar Night_Nurse 08:41 PM 12-01-2011

I've been a nurse for over 17 years and I was a nurse's aide several years before that. Before that even I worked in medical records, mainly filing surgical and lab reports. So...22+ years in the medical profession. I've worked in home health (bathed lots of old men), adult medical/surgical hospital nurse, a step-down unit (think "nursing home" in a hosp. setting), a doctor's office, pediatrics, maternity/OB nurse in a hospital. I did an entire summer clinical rotation in a nursing home. During all that time, I never once saw any male, newborn, 50, 70 or 100 with any kind of foreskin problem whatsoever. I never once filed a surgical report for an adult circ. I never saw a foreskin infection or met any male who *wanted* to get a circ. I never talked to any doctors or nurses on the job that talked about foreskin problems. One older nurse did mention that her father in law got circed as an adult but I don't know if it was needed or just desired. I didn't ask about the details. So I guess that could be counted as possibly one. You'd think if foreskins were causing problems I would have seen it first hand once or twice in Texas. I'm always truly amazed when I read all these stories from SuzyQ's neighbor's uncle, who is a doctor/nurse/paramedic, sees infected foreskins ALL THE TIME!

Keeping in mind that in the U.S., where surgeries bring doctors income and where the public always wants a quick fix, I'm sure circumcisions do happen more than necessary. Part of me believes that what many people honestly thing is infection in a toddler or younger boy is actually normal separation process.  I wonder how many times grown men "needed" circs because of yeast, maybe a yeast infection given to them by their wives and they just didn't know how to get rid of it. It's so easy to blame the man and his foreskin, especially if society has taught you it's dirty and unnecessary.


oma to 9's Avatar oma to 9 09:05 PM 12-01-2011

I worked as an RN in a nursing home in the early 90's.  We had a resident, in his 80's, who had Parkinson's and several other disorders.  One day someone was cleaning him and neglected to return his foreskin to the proper position.  Unfortunately it wasn't noticed by anyone else either.  By the time it was discovered it had formed adhesions and the only way it could be managed was by the doctor doing a circumcision.

 

This is not a judgement on the caregivers, though it should be said that they were certainly remiss in doing a thorough job.  Most of the men in the nursing home were circumcised so several of the girls had no idea that a foreskin, once pulled back, had to be put back in place....or at least on this gentleman it did. They didn't teach us in nursing school that foreskins had to be replaced and, as a member of a denomination that espouses circumcision (don't bother, please, I've been attacked already for this), I didn't know it was necessary until I learned it from this exact situation.

 

Instead, it is what you asked about...a real story about a real person in their upper life years who was circumcised for medical necessity. 


Buzzer Beater's Avatar Buzzer Beater 09:17 PM 12-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by oma to 9 View Post

I worked as an RN in a nursing home in the early 90's.  We had a resident, in his 80's, who had Parkinson's and several other disorders.  One day someone was cleaning him and neglected to return his foreskin to the proper position.  Unfortunately it wasn't noticed by anyone else either.  By the time it was discovered it had formed adhesions and the only way it could be managed was by the doctor doing a circumcision.

 

This is not a judgement on the caregivers, though it should be said that they were certainly remiss in doing a thorough job.  Most of the men in the nursing home were circumcised so several of the girls had no idea that a foreskin, once pulled back, had to be put back in place....or at least on this gentleman it did. They didn't teach us in nursing school that foreskins had to be replaced and, as a member of a denomination that espouses circumcision (don't bother, please, I've been attacked already for this), I didn't know it was necessary until I learned it from this exact situation.

 

Instead, it is what you asked about...a real story about a real person in their upper life years who was circumcised for medical necessity. 



But it's not like his penis got that way on its own... he was neglected. Normal care doesn't produce those results.

 

 


Mulvah's Avatar Mulvah 09:29 PM 12-01-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by oma to 9 View Post

I worked as an RN in a nursing home in the early 90's.  We had a resident, in his 80's, who had Parkinson's and several other disorders.  One day someone was cleaning him and neglected to return his foreskin to the proper position.  Unfortunately it wasn't noticed by anyone else either.  By the time it was discovered it had formed adhesions and the only way it could be managed was by the doctor doing a circumcision.

 

This is not a judgement on the caregivers, though it should be said that they were certainly remiss in doing a thorough job.  Most of the men in the nursing home were circumcised so several of the girls had no idea that a foreskin, once pulled back, had to be put back in place....or at least on this gentleman it did. They didn't teach us in nursing school that foreskins had to be replaced and, as a member of a denomination that espouses circumcision (don't bother, please, I've been attacked already for this), I didn't know it was necessary until I learned it from this exact situation.

 

Instead, it is what you asked about...a real story about a real person in their upper life years who was circumcised for medical necessity. 



Due to negligent care by medical professionals. 


Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 09:59 PM 12-01-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by oma to 9 View Post

I worked as an RN in a nursing home in the early 90's.  We had a resident, in his 80's, who had Parkinson's and several other disorders.  One day someone was cleaning him and neglected to return his foreskin to the proper position.  Unfortunately it wasn't noticed by anyone else either.  By the time it was discovered it had formed adhesions and the only way it could be managed was by the doctor doing a circumcision.

 

This is not a judgement on the caregivers, though it should be said that they were certainly remiss in doing a thorough job.  Most of the men in the nursing home were circumcised so several of the girls had no idea that a foreskin, once pulled back, had to be put back in place....or at least on this gentleman it did. They didn't teach us in nursing school that foreskins had to be replaced and, as a member of a denomination that espouses circumcision (don't bother, please, I've been attacked already for this), I didn't know it was necessary until I learned it from this exact situation.

 

Instead, it is what you asked about...a real story about a real person in their upper life years who was circumcised for medical necessity. 


How sad. I cant believe that nursing schools dont teach the very people who deal with the human body the most how to care for a body that hasnt been cut up. And then people wonder why some people have such an aversion to nurses and doctors.


elisheva's Avatar elisheva 10:14 PM 12-01-2011

I know three grown men (as in, I know them - they are not faceless individuals to me) who have been circed as adults for medical reasons including phimosis and persistent UTI or other infection. And this wasn't in the US. And it's a big procedure for an adult as general anaesthesia is necessary. I haven't met a doctor who takes this lightly (though bash all you want - THOSE DOCTORS WANT EVERYONE CIRC'ed!!!!!1!!!!11!!). So no, it's not an urban legend. 


ChiaraRose's Avatar ChiaraRose 10:28 PM 12-01-2011

My brother, in Europe, 1 year ago, 30 years old after many, many years of suffering quietly and being in a lot of pain.  I am very much against infant circumcision,my boy is not circed neither will any subsequent boys, but bashing everyone who as an adult decided this is their way out of many years of misery is not the way to go. And he was taught to clean himself properly, yada, yada, yada.


MyBoysBlue's Avatar MyBoysBlue 11:00 PM 12-01-2011

I think a lot of later circs are done in boys not men.  If a boy isn't retractable by what ever age the doctor thinks they should be they recommend circ.  At least that's what happened to my little brother.  Circ is just not done in our family as in unheard of.  So this was a big deal.  He was my parents only boy and he wasn't retractable at 6 years old so my Mom took him to see the doctor.  No other reason.  No infections or anything.  Though as a toddler he had squished himself with the toilet seat.  So when the doctors told my Mom that he needed to be circed she didn't question them.  She thought it was a result of the earlier injury.  I suppose there was a possibility of an adhesion from the injury but I believe it was more likely that he just wasn't retractable yet.  In any case it wasn't like waiting would have been a problem.  But this doc made it seem like it had to be done immediately.  So my little brother was robbed of his foreskin at the age of 6.


japonica's Avatar japonica 01:57 AM 12-02-2011

I don't know anyone personally who had to have it done as an adult and all of the males on my father's side of the family, as well as my brother, are/were intact.

 

Not to say that it doesn't happen but it reminds me of the snake bite stories here in Australia that make all tourists think we're over run: "Oh, my cousin's friend's sister got bitten by a snake and almost died so it must be hell on earth to live there, those poor people."


LessTraveledBy's Avatar LessTraveledBy 05:42 AM 12-02-2011

I live in a country where no one is circed. I have NEVER heard of man who had to have it done. I am sure there must be some, but at least here it seems to be extremely rare.


sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 05:56 AM 12-02-2011

I worked in nursing homes (5 years just 2 years ago) and I didn't retract men to clean them except on shower days. I always found intact men to be much cleaner b/c if they got poop on their penis I could just wipe it off the outside. When a circ'ed man got poop on his penis (b/c these guys all wear diapers) I always felt REALLY uncomfortable cleaning around their head and their wrinkly crevices that had formed and they probably did too ad many would become erect or semi erect and it made for a very awkward situation...especially when they had Alzheimer's and didn't know I wasn't their wife or whoever!

 

None of my PT's got infections but I also actually showered them weekly or more so yes neglect would be the only reason I see and there is a LOT of neglect going on in nursing homes! It is absolutely sickening...


Buzzer Beater's Avatar Buzzer Beater 08:44 AM 12-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraRose View Post

My brother, in Europe, 1 year ago, 30 years old after many, many years of suffering quietly and being in a lot of pain.  I am very much against infant circumcision,my boy is not circed neither will any subsequent boys, but bashing everyone who as an adult decided this is their way out of many years of misery is not the way to go. And he was taught to clean himself properly, yada, yada, yada.



I don't think anyone here is bashing an adult who makes a painful decision about his own health. Things are rarely bound to go wrong and it sounds like your brother was unfortunate and made a choice for himself.

 


madis81's Avatar madis81 11:05 AM 12-02-2011

My mom told me I needed to circ my son so he wouldn't have to get circed as an elderly patient at a nursing home. She's worked as CNA for 20 years in this setting and it's happened "because the older men can't clean themselves well enough". Really? Pissed me off. I reminded her that someone should be HELPING them if necessary.


bandgeek's Avatar bandgeek 01:47 PM 12-02-2011

Wanna hear something funny (well, not funny, but you know...kinda ironic)?  According to a nurse friend I have (who has worked in several nursing homes) she said the OPPOSITE is true.  The men who are intact are taken care of very well.  The nurses know you BETTER clean it...or else.  The thing about elderly men (she says anyway, I've never seen and old man that up close and personal) is that everything gets kind of saggy.  Yes, even penis skin.  So they have all these crevices and folds they didn't used to have.  And since the nurses know the guys are circ'ed, they don't bother to clean them as well, and they'd get all kinds of build-up in their "extra" skin.  She said it was the circ'ed guys getting infections.  I said it was ironic didn't I? LOL

 

I've never known anyone who needed circ'ed for medical reasons.  My step-dad's father requested to be circ'ed when he was like 70, because he was going under for another procedure and wanted to know what all the fuss over being circ'ed was about. LOL  I didn't know of this until years after he passed away.  So I asked my step-dad what the verdict was...is it better to be cut or not?  He said he didn't know.  His dad never brought it up after it was done.  I guess there wasn't much to comment on?

 

My little sister knows a guy who chose to have it done at 18 for cosmetic reasons.  He said it wasn't that big of a deal, not very painful, and he was getting it on a mere 2 weeks later.

 

I take that back, I do know someone who had it done for "medical reasons" at age 5, but I knew right away it wasn't a "real" reason so dismissed it from my mind.  Family was jewish anyway and wanted it done but the kid was a micropreemie.


ChiaraRose's Avatar ChiaraRose 01:57 PM 12-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzer Beater View Post



I don't think anyone here is bashing an adult who makes a painful decision about his own health. Things are rarely bound to go wrong and it sounds like your brother was unfortunate and made a choice for himself.

 


I totally agree with yor assement, except for the tone here is always...NEVER will anything go wrong and everyone who got circed got duped. I am not too involved in my brother's penis history:), but I know it was a hard decision for him and from what I understand there were lots of adhesions from him trying to retract as an ADULT and it just not working. I also know that it was VERY painful surgery and hard to recover from. So, in my family it was not an urban myth, but it has not changed my general opinion about circ because well..it is RARE!
 

 


MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 05:30 AM 12-03-2011

I know a good many intact men and none that have experienced any problems requiring surgery. I haven't even heard any "friends of friends" horror stories.

 

My intact little brother got a penis infection when he was 13. He took antibiotics for it and it cleared up. I have since not heard of any subsequent problems--imagine if some doctor had insisted he needed to be circumcised to correct it!

 

I think older people have heard this story more often because doctors suggested circumcision when it wasn't needed, like for infection or inability to retract?

 

It wasn't just foreskins they did this to. For instance, doctors in past generations were more likely than they are now to recommend removing tonsils at the first sign of throat infection.


japonica's Avatar japonica 03:46 PM 12-03-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

I know a good many intact men and none that have experienced any problems requiring surgery. I haven't even heard any "friends of friends" horror stories.

 

My intact little brother got a penis infection when he was 13. He took antibiotics for it and it cleared up. I have since not heard of any subsequent problems--imagine if some doctor had insisted he needed to be circumcised to correct it!

 

I think older people have heard this story more often because doctors suggested circumcision when it wasn't needed, like for infection or inability to retract?

 

It wasn't just foreskins they did this to. For instance, doctors in past generations were more likely than they are now to recommend removing tonsils at the first sign of throat infection.


Exactly. That's a surgery (tonsillectomy) that was once routine that is now, thankfully, no longer so. I had mine out when I was a preschooler. Apparently, the doctor told my mother it was absolutely necessary to prevent repeated infections. Yet, my two kids have never had any problems with their intact tonsils. ;)

 


Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:14 PM 12-03-2011

I also had my tonsils out, for similar reasons. I'm still fairly prone to sore throats, etc., so I don't think it accomplished anything!


Friday13th's Avatar Friday13th 05:01 AM 12-04-2011

I don't think it's an urban legend persay, I think there is a lot of bad info out there and doctors who are happy to jump to circ when there are other options.

 

FWIW my (intact) DH's grandfather was circumcised at 90. My guess is there was an infection caused by improper care once he was unable to care for himself and the doctor didn't bother looking for other treatments.


utandy's Avatar utandy 06:15 AM 12-04-2011

I think that between the 40's and 60's dr.s pushed circs. Many men who had no problems what so ever were convinced that it had to be done. My FIL was one of those. The Dr told him that it would cause problems with his sex life, It wasn't at the time but it would at some future date. So he got it done at 28 to prevent this awful future sex issue That would surly come up.


serendipity22's Avatar serendipity22 05:22 AM 12-05-2011

I don't know of anyone in real life who "had to be" circumcised later in life or who chose to be circumcised, I only know of men who were circed as infants.

 

In 1940 in England, everyone knew someone who knew someone who buried a drowned German soldier. (It was rumoured there was a failed invasion attempt). Only problem was there were not any.

 

Imakcerka 07:20 AM 12-05-2011

I have a few friends in the military that were not circ'd they didn't want to be either.  The military did kind of push having it done but they wouldn't do it.  Just like they wanted to pull out all my wisdom teeth but I kept two because of the way my jaw sits they're fine where they are at and should never cause me any problems.  These same men made sure their boys were not circ'd either.  They just didn't see the point in it and honestly I think if more fathers put their foot down it would help the cause.  We have a family friend who wasn't circ'd but his wife was doing all she could to change his mind.  Kind of ruined our friendship with her when we got thrown in the mix and asked our opinion...  The boy is still intact and momma is still pissed about it.  When she was pregnant with their daughter he brought home literature about FGM and told her he thought it was a good idea... I think he was just trying to piss her off more but hopefully it worked to at least start changing her mind.


SierraNevada's Avatar SierraNevada 08:19 PM 12-05-2011

 

 

Quote:
Everybody seems to know someone who had a friend, uncle, whoever that had to be circ'ed as an adult due to infection.

 

I've heard this from friends or acquaintances before, too, but it was always this guy's brother's roommate's cousin kind of thing. My mom worked at a nursing home in the 70's and 80's. About 50/50 intact/circed. She didn't see any more problems in the intact over the circumcised. And as far as cleaning, her comments echo bandgeek's; all penises at that age have that sagginess and wrinkles and the men both intact and circed needed extra attention getting clean. 

 

On another note, my boyfriend in college was intact and did get an awful yeast infection while I was with him. Did cause him some inflammation and tightness for awhile. Again this was circ happy Midwest in the early 90's and dr. never suggested circumcision to him, nor would he have ever accepted. Just gave him some monistat type stuff and steroid cream.


hakunangovi 07:18 PM 12-09-2011

I think that these urban myths are so prevalent in North America because they are partly true.  Especialy in the past, but even today, there are many doctors and urologists out there who will whack off a foreskin for any hint of a problem, be it real or percieved.  What really annoys me is that they are so uneducated/dismissive of less invasive procedures that preserve the foreskin.  In Edward Wallerstein's book "Circumcision - An American Health Fallacy" I think it is called, he states that in Finland, a non circumcising culture, only one in 16,000 men will die without his foreskin.  That is pretty good odds!!  As some PPs stated, many of our doctors do not know much about intact genitalia and have this hang up about forced retraction and cleaning, or insist that a boy must be circumcised if he is not retractable by xx age, or he must be circumcised to treat an infection.  What are antibiotics for?  Who can trust them?


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