Can't understand these adult circumcisions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so confused - why and HOW would an adult man's foreskin grow too tight at the age of 60, necessitating a circumcision? I'm referring to j'smommy's FIL, but just the other day I heard of this happening to someone else's father as well. It apparently became "rigid" so he was circ'd in late middle age.

Before I came to the USA I had never EVER heard of an adult needing to be circumcised, or indeed having any foreskin problems. I've never known any male child or adult to have any problems with tightness or infections either.

So I'm wondering what on earth is going on with American penises? :
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#2 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 10:26 AM
 
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Well- Things do happen, a lot of times it's the result of diabetes. I am sure in countries which respect a man's whole sex organ, alternative therapies are tried before resorting to circumcision. So probably many fewer men are circumcised for problems late in life than here.

There are quite a few men I have encountered who are doing foreskin restoration who were circumcised as adults and who are from places which don't routinely circumcise. A later life circumcision does happen other places than here, but my thought is, we only know about this gentleman's difficulties BECAUSE someone is wanting to justify circumcising and INFANT because of his problem.

If no one wanted to justify a circumcision with his experience, no one would be talking about it, and no one would know about it.

I think that a man's circumcision might be a more private matter, or one that was quietly, sadly, worried about, "Poor Byron, did you hear what he has been going through...?" In another place... when here there are tons of people who are wanting to justify future and past circumcisions, and the man himself, and his feelings are not the focus of people's thoughts, their only thoughts are reflexive back onto their own actions... and the poor man's experience is just a launching point for their own defensive feelings "I am so glad we circumcised Joey when he won't remember it after seeing what Byron went through."

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#3 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 10:59 AM
 
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I've personally known four men who have been circumcised as adults. Two of the reports of them were that they had to be circumcised but when I investigated it with the men, they were all elective circumcisions. They had bowed to society. Three of the men were very unhappy with their circumcisions and the fourth was happy but his wife wasn't. It had seriously diminished his sex drive to the point that she was considering getting a lover outside their marriage. I know a woman who was once a circumcision advocate because of her experience as a nanny. She had posted that she knew many males that had to be circumcised. She had changed her stance because of circumcision problems with her own son and agreed to discuss the "necessary" circumcisions. It turned out that all of the infant/child circumcisions were done due to the wrong care of the infant intact penis ie. premature retraction and daily washing of the glans/foreskin with soap of 1-3 year olds. There was one instance out of these 7 or 8 males where it could not be determined of the circumcision was elective or necessary. It was a 32 year old man.

If it is investigated closely, most of the reports of adult circumcisions were somebody's sisters' husband's father's best friend's mother-in-law's brother's boss's brother who had to be circumcised. In other words, impossible to know if the circumcision was elective or indicated and if there was one minor problem that resulted in the circumcision or the ubiquitious "many problems." These anecdotal reports don't carry much weight with me because of the ones I have checked out that turned out to be elective or due to inappropriate care that would have been easier to avoid that perpetrate on the child.




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#4 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 11:31 AM
 
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My dad was circumcized as an adult, when he was serving in Vietnam. He was 28 or thereabouts. I remember hearing that it was because of "infections" in the jungle, but I don't believe that. (He was a fighter pilot, he was living in a hooch, it wasn't as if he was in a trench suffering from jungle rot.) I think it must have been wanting to look like everyone else; my dad is nothing if not conformist. From what little my mom has told me I also think he thought it would solve sexual issues (endurance wise).

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#5 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 01:06 PM
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It's interesting you mentioned Vietnam.

Dr. Fleiss states (in his book), "Many American soldiers fighting in Vietnam were forcibly circumcised by military circumcisers under threat of court-martial. Some radical circumcisers, like Aaron J. Fink, ceaselessly shrieked the embarrassingly ridiculous myth that genitally intact soldiers would get sand under their skins and thereby be rendered unable to fight."

So, your dad was probably forced to get circumcised in Vietnam. (Just another way in which America did not/does not take care of Vietnam Vets!)
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#6 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since my original post, I’ve been trying to find some concrete statistics on adult circumcision. I tried looking up adult circumcision rates in other Western countries, and also diabetes rates, which would give some indication that lifestyle factors were comparable to the U.S.

Unfortunately I could only find 1980 statistics for the USA. I found stats for Finland from 2000. I thought it would be OK to compare the two because I’m making the assumption that there wouldn’t be a significant difference between the Finnish adult circ rates in 2000 and 1980. The diabetes rate in the USA in 1980 was 5.76% (it's now much higher) and for Finland in 2000 it was 3.8%.


I found 3 references to the adult circ. rate in Finland, where the rate of infant circumcision is <1%. The adult circumcision rate in 2000 (out of almost 100% intact adult males) was 0.006%.


The adult circ rate in the USA in 1980 was 3 in 1000, or 0.3%.(Wallerstein, E., Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy 1980).
Intact males made up 33% of the male population in 1980 (http://www.boystoo.com/history/statistics.htm), so that means that for intact men, the adult circ rate was 0.9%! (instead of 0.3 / 100, it’s actually 0.3 / 33). Does that make sense? I’m not a statistician, so someone PLEASE point out if I'm way off track here.. E.g. if 98 men out of a hundred are circ’d at birth and 2 men are intact, and 1 of those intact men is then circ’d as an adult, then the adult circ. rate for intact men is not 1/100 but 1 / 2, or 50%.



So according to my calculations :

The circ rate for intact Finnish men in 2000 was 0.006%, or 6/100,000.

The circ rate for intact American men in 1980 was 0.9%, or 900/100,000.

That would mean that an intact man would be 150 times more likely to be circumcised in America than in Finland!
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#7 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 03:10 PM
 
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That's interesting, mamajulie. I have never heard that that was my dad's experience, but who knows. It's not something we discussed in detail, IYKWIM.

I guess this Fink person would be totally opposed to women in the military....just think of all those women soldiers out of commission because of sand in bad places!

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#8 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 05:04 PM
 
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Nomadic:

From the research I've seen, I think your numbers are off somewhere but I can't figure out exactly where. I think your 33% of males intact may be part of it. I think the actual percentage may be more like 20%. Plus, from what I have seen, 3% of all males (circumcised and intact) have considered circumcision at some time but a much smaller percentage has actually done it. I haven't seen what that smaller percentage is but I would suspect 10% or so of those actually followed through. If that were the case, the numbers would be more like 300/100,000. But that is still 50 times higher. I would also suspect the vast majority of those were elective as opposed to medically indicated. Still, this is not a safe country for a foreskin. The societal pressures plus the mere mention of circumcision by a doctor has resulted in many. Of the 4 adult men I know who have been circumcised, all 4 were elective. 3 of the 4 regret it and the fourth's wife regrets it.




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#9 of 19 Old 06-10-2003, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Frank,

I had to use the 1980 % intact (33%) because I only had the statistic for adult circumcisions from 1980.

If the intact rate back then was only 20%, then wouldn't the rate of adult circumcision of intact men actually be higher than 0.9%?
I.e. 0.3/20 = 1.5% or 1500 / 100,000. (According to my brilliant formula )


I was basing my calculations on the assumption that only intact men could be circumcised as adults though. When you say:


Quote:
3% of all males (circumcised and intact) have considered circumcision at some time but a much smaller percentage has actually done it.
does that mean a circumcised man can get "re-circumcised" somehow? (sorry to be so obtuse!)
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#10 of 19 Old 06-11-2003, 01:17 AM
 
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LOL!

The research I saw broke down like this:

Out of every 100 intact men, 78% were satisfied, 17% ambivalent and 3% dissatisfied.

There were 197 subjects, average age was 44 years. It was found that the older the men became, the more satisfied they became with their intactness. Teenagers were the most likely to be dissatisfied with their intact status.

The really interesting thing to me about the survey was that 20% of circumcised men were dissatisfied that they were circumcised. That means that we are getting it wrong 6 2/3 times more than we are getting it right when we circumcise a baby.

I'll let you do your number crunching. That kind of stuff makes me crazy! I guess I did too much of it when I was in business.




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#11 of 19 Old 06-11-2003, 01:31 AM
 
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In reference to Vietnam, a co-worker of mine is a Vietnam vet. He was an uncircumsized African American 18 year old when he was drafted in the late 60s. When he went in for basic training he was told that he had to be circumsized. He told them to "go to he&&" and to court martial him if they wanted but they weren't "cutting off his d*%k". They left him alone and he served a tour in the trenches, unaffected by "jungle rot" (ewwww). So the pressure and threats were certainly there, but a few men stood up for themselves and survived to laugh about it later...

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#12 of 19 Old 06-19-2003, 11:09 PM
 
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My dad was circed at the ripe ol' age of 60. I was too embarrased to even get into a discussion with him about it at the time, now, after being so much more aware of circ and how awful it is, I wish I had the chance to talk to him about it. (He passed away a year after the procedure of Lung cancer)

I asked my mom why he had the procedure done and she says he was having difficulty with tightening of the skin and was having regular discomfort, and yes, he was diabetic.

So, it's interesting to read how many others are being circ as older adults.
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#13 of 19 Old 06-20-2003, 12:58 PM
 
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nomadic, this is a very intriguing question, and I still don't understand by what mechanism a foreskin tightens up. But it did happen to my son, not as an adult, but an older child. Be warned, this is a long story.
He was born more than 20 years ago, before the advent of the internet, when good factual information was impossible to find. I was adamant that he remain intact. The Dr advised us to gently retract in the bath. This was also backed up by BIL ( himself intact with 2 intact sons ). At first he had the typical pinhole opening, but by 1 the meatus was visible , and by 5 he was almost halfway retractable , with the foreskin adhering to the glans behind that. Now all the contemporary baby books stated that a boy must be fully retractable by 5. Being a bit concerned, we took him to a urologist who broke the adhesions back to the sulcus. This did not seem to hurt, and there were no cries or tears. His foreskin, though still a bit tight was now almost fully retractable . All was well for a couple of years until one night when he retracted and got a couple of tiny slits on the inner lining ( tip ? ) which obviously hurt. New Dr now, who advised just leaving it alone. Yes, I now know thats what should have happened from day one !!!
Fast forward to age 11. He woke up in the night for a pee and yells out in pain. The next day at the Dr ( different one ) he is diagnosed with a UTI, and it is apparent that his foreskin has closed right up again and has the appearance of a new borns. Antibiotics cleared the infection up in a day or so, and an appointment is made at supposedly the best urologist in town. Suspecting he will say circ I franticaly contact Marilyn Milos at NOCIRC for advice. She put me in contact with Dr James Snyder who advised avoiding a circ if possible and suggested balloon dilation.
Well , the urologist discounted all the material I had brought along, argued with my reasons for keeping my son intact and ultimately walked out of the room. I refused to go back. My wife just wanted my son's problem fixed, and sad to say he was later circ'd. I feel really guilty that I didn't fight harder, and have appologised many times to him. He is OK with it and says he is glad it doesn't hurt to pee.
So, how did this happen ? Why did the tip of his foreskin seem to get tighter at 7 ? One of the usual reasons given for a later circ is that the foreskin has re-attatched to the glans. This was not my sons case, because when he had the infection ( which I don't believe was a UTI, but was balanitis ) I saw him pee and his foreskin balooned indicating that it was just the very tip that had closed up.
What really kills me is that we were offered absolutely no option but to circ the poor kid.
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#14 of 19 Old 06-20-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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Howard:

when the foreskin is ready to retract, the preputial sphincter will become stretchy and will remain stretchy for the rest of the man's life with the exception of some diabetics. This stretchiness allows the foreskin to move back ofver the glans and to close the tip when it is returned to the forward position.

An infant or child who is not ready for retraction can be retracted but this retraction will probably cause slight tears in the band at the tip. As these heal, scar tissue forms and scar tissue is not stretchy, thus the foreskin becomes non retractable as was your son's. 99% of the time, this can be resolved with bethmethesone cream that permanently stretches the skin so that retractablilty is returned. This is usually done in the teen years when it is fairly certain that the time for retractability has come.

Unfortunately, many or most American doctors don't know this treatment and many boys are needlessly circumcised. It's a cryin' shame you have to come to the internet to get the correct medical advise from non-medical people. Doctors are paid way too much to be this uneducated about such a simple problem with such a simple cure. Of course there is also the factor that a tube of betamethesone costs about 6 bucks and a circumcision is about $1,500.00. Circumcision lawsuits are legitimate in cases like these!




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#15 of 19 Old 06-20-2003, 10:44 PM
 
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thought i'd pop in and see if anyone misses me!

I've been reading this thread, and a thought occured to me after reading howard's and frank's replies...stay with me, I have pg brain, and it might not comeout right:
1.) IF a man is 60-ish now, he would've been born around the 1940's, right?
2.) SO what was the medical advice at this time for "cleaning" the penis? (or perhaps in the 50's, a pediatrician would've given the parents advice on thier pre-teen?)
3.) IF the medical advice was to retract and clean, this would damage the preputial sphincter permanantly, right? So if that opening/sphincter was damaged early in life, perhaps the problem wouldn't present itself until later in life...in the man's 60's.
4.) THEREFORE a man would "need" to be circ'd in his 60's because of care he was given as a child by his parents/pediatrician. I hope this made sense!
****************************
and a word on "infections"~~I always hear that men with foreskins will get "infections," so I ask, logically, "What kind of infections?"

I always get this look: not just a blank stare but also that "i never thought about that" face

the term "infection" is all-inclusive, and is automatically seen as negative, and in the case of the foreskin, it is used to imply poor hygene, and a nasty green penis that is going to rot off... I tell people it could mean a urinary tract *infection*, a yeast *infection*, bladder *infection*, kidney *infection*, etc. Or it could be as serious as a gangrenous *infection*~~ppl just don't think about it. they don't associate a "specific" infection with the foreskin, they just think "infection bad! me no want infection!"

so why does everyone use that term so liberally and in such a derogatory way? it's really misleading.

~Christy crochetsmilie.gif, mom to DD Sage (12-2003) joy.gif and DS Isaac (04-2012)  babyboy.gif, wife to Josh geek.gif.

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#16 of 19 Old 06-21-2003, 12:06 PM
 
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"they don't associate a "specific" infection with the foreskin, they just think "infection bad! me no want infection!"

Ok... so now I am lol thinking of cookie monster getting all freaked out over some pro circ propaganda. Don't worry cookie... you will be just fine- you little blue fuzzy thing is safe.

Love Sarah
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#17 of 19 Old 06-21-2003, 12:24 PM
 
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#18 of 19 Old 06-22-2003, 01:57 PM
 
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Frank, thanks for your insight. I have wondered about the scar issue, but the slits only appeared once, maybe twice that I was aware of before we told Ds to discontinue retraction. Would that have been all it took ? The other possibility that I have since learned about is BXO. Very rare I know, and no mention was made of it, but the urologist was so arrogant , he wouldn't have discussed anything in depth with a peon like me !!
Christy is right in her assumption that there were probably several decades that passed with parents of intact sons being given the wrong advice on how to care for their child. Certainly this was still going on through to the early 80 s. It absolutely kills me that the medical community was so 'out to lunch ' !!! Never mind all the 'authorities' writing child caare books.
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#19 of 19 Old 06-22-2003, 06:12 PM
 
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Howard:

There may have been only one or two *noticeable* tears but there were probably many more that didn't bleed and were too small to see. There were also probably many more tears inside the skin in the structure. You said that you gently retracted to clean until it was discontinued at 5 years old. I don't know if this was at every diaper change or just at bath time but if you assume a conservative average of once a day, in 5 years he would have been retracted 1,825 times. Even if one of these "micro tears" had happened only 1/3 of the time. we are still talking about over 600 of them concentrated in a very small area. That could certainly lead to significant scar tissue which probably kept the frenar band from stretching even if it happened to be ready.

Betamethesone (I spelled it wrong above) in a .05% solution has been used in Europe for many years and is almost 100% effective. Treatment time ranges from just a few weeks to a couple of months in extreme cases. Betamethesone is really not even needed, it just significantly speeds up the process.





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