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We often hear how people circumcise their sons for perceived "medical benefits". But what exactly are those benefits, and how important are they?<br><br>
1. It's cleaner. Some people believe that the presence of a foreskin makes it difficult to keep the penis clean. In fact, part of the foreskin's job (especially during infancy) is to protect the glans and meatus from dirt and debris (and the contents of ooky diapers). During the diaper years, all a parent has to do is wipe the outside with a wet washcloth - just like washing a finger. No special care is required. Later, the boy just needs to learn 3 easy steps to perform in the shower: "Retract, rinse, replace". It is not difficult, it takes only a few seconds, and some boys/men might even find the process enjoyable.<br><br>
2. It prevents UTIs. Actually, it doesn't. Some research suggests that circ'ed boys have a SLIGHTLY lower incidence of UTI in their first year; after that, circ'ed males have a higher incidence. But the important thing to remember is that UTIs are treated with antibiotics, not surgery. There is NO reason that an intact boy cannot receive EXACTLY the same medical treatment for a UTI as a girl or a circ'ed boy. And any body, circ'ed or not, is much les likely to get a UTI than a girl. It is not all that common in boys - which means it isn't necessary to slightly reduce his risk, since it's already relatively low. Breastfeeding has been PROVEN to reduce UTI risk in ALL babies.<br><br>
3. It prevents penile cancer. Cancer is a big Scare word, and we certainly don't want our kids to get it! Some studies suggest that intact men are more likely to get penile cancer than circ'ed men, but because penile cancer is a disease of old men, it is almost impossible to isolate circ status from all the other physical and behavioral risk factors for it. It is also a very rare form of cancer - our sons are more likely to get breast cancer than penile cancer. It is totally unnecessary to perform surgery on an infant to try to reduce his risk of a disease that is already extremely low risk - AND which wouldn't be likely to affect him for 50, 60, 70 years in the future. Shoot, by then we may very well have wiped cancer off the face of the earth! Since our baby boys are already at virtually zero risk for penile cancer, they don't need surgery to protect them against it.<br><br>
4. It prevents HIV. Obviously this isn't true, or the US (where the majority of sexually active men are circ'ed) would not have such an astronomical number of HIV cases. Suggesting that circumcision offers protection against STDs might encourage men to forego condoms, which will definitely increase their risk of contracting the disease. If an adult male believes that circumcision will protect him from STDs, he has every right to get himself circ'ed. Since our baby boys are not sexually active, they don't need surgery to protect from STDs.<br><br>
Common sense tells us that the so-called "medical benefits" are really not such terrific benefits after all. Why perform surgery to achieve a goal when the same goal can be achieved without it?<br><br>
And we haven't even addressed the fact that circumcision comes with its own set of medical risks, including bleeding, infection, removal of too much skin, meatal stenosis, even death.<br><br>
Nor have we addressed the fact that the foreskin is an integral part of how the penis is designed to function. Cutting it off forever changes how the penis works.
 

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That's right, there are no "real" benefits of circ and there is the potential to cause major harm including death.<br><br>
I was thinking today about another example of the "clean" issue. Homebirth mws used to tell families to carefully clean the umbilical stump with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball. Nurses in hospital recommended alcohol wipes to clean the cord.<br>
Along came a nurse who wanted to "study" which was best. She needed to have a "control group" to check for bias in the study. so, she had a group of 100 infants who got the hydrogen peroxide treatment, 100 who got the alcohol treatment and, then, she had a group of 100 who got NO treatment (control).<br><br>
To everyone's surprise, the No Treatment group did the best. The cord dried, fell off quicker and had fewer problems if they did nothing to it. Because of her research, most hospitals now tell new parents to leave the cord alone, pull the diaper down a little so it's exposed to the air, and that's it.<br>
Baybee
 
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