Posted on 19 Comments

Should They Be Circumcised?

baby
Photo by Yến Yến on Unsplash


Surgical snipping without consent

I began in a place that’s relatively old world style. Growing up my world was patriarchal … that never sat well with me. Even as a child I did not like the idea of “needing” a man’s permission for my life. I have always harbored the mindset that we are equal. The male brain is no more evolved that mine based solely on the fact that he “may” possesses testosterone in greater quantities than I — (potential posts for another time).

My grandmother (aka bonus mom) never subscribed to the idea of circumcision. She was blessed with five male children. None of her boys she stated were circumcised. We will have to take her word for it!

 


 

When I was eighteen a close relative gave birth to her first child and she decided to have him circumcised. My teenage eyes saw what a botched job it was on that poor baby and my decision to never circumcise was recording data for future use.

Fast forward to years later, as a nurse I have had the pleasure and misfortune to be present for many life-changing events; circumcision being among them. That poor newborn’s screams echoed off the walls and I was moved beyond compassion for him. My questioning mind wondered why on earth would anyone put their child through such torment! My decision to forego circumcision was cemented!

When my own son was born and the question was asked, my answer was unequivocally NO! This was a debate I had had with myself since quite young and nothing had changed that notion for me. I knew I did not want to put him through that kind of torture.

 


What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. The procedure is mostly performed on newborn boys for the purposes of health benefits, religious reasons or to conform to societal norms.

Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

Why circumcise?

Sometimes the need for circumcision is a medical one. If the foreskin is too tight and causes problems when it needs to be retracted over the glans. According to the US National Library of Medicine it is also recommended for older boys and men in an effort to reduce sexually transmitted infections and other times it is simply a rite of passage.

Benefits of circumcision:

  • Easier to clean: With the removal of the foreskin, a male child will find it easier to keep the the penis clean.
  • Less infections: Although the risks of urinary tract infections are low in males, per medical literature removing the foreskin further reduces the risk for themselves and future partners. Science has proven that circumcised men have a lower risk of acquiring and transmitting many sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Circumcision results in lower incidences of STI’s, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, cancers of the penis and cervix, trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis.
  • Necessary due to phimosis. Rarely the foreskin may be difficult or even impossible to retract (phimosis). This of course will require surgical intervention.
  • Decreased incidence of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it’s less common in circumcised men. This can be a boon for their future partner as well.
  • Reduced incidences of cervical cancers in female sexual partners of circumcised men.
  • Financially beneficial to society.

Risks of circumcision:

  1. Genital mutilation— missteps can result in permanent functional and aesthetic changes.
  2. Risk of excessive bleeding—  due to the close proximity of the urethra to the ventral surface(underside) of the penis, extreme caution should should be undertaken during the procedure as missteps can result in necrosis of the fragile tissue and/or the creation of a fistula (an abnormal connection between two structures). Death by bleeding may also be due to familial blood disorders.
  3. Infections —  that become serious due to undeveloped immune system leading to; meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, gangrene, and sepsis have all been reported as complications of infected circumcision sites.
  4. Excessive foreskin removal — this will eventually heal, but initially causes distress among both the parent, the child and the practitioner. Also may not be esthetically pleasing.
  5. Insufficient foreskin removal/adhesions and skin bridges — necessitates a second surgery, the excess skin covers and adheres to the glans (phimosis), resulting in the need for additional surgery.
  6. Urinary retention, cysts, chordee (curvature of the penis), stenosis (narrowing) of the meatus, hypospadias and epispadias, penile necrosis, and finally death.

Photo by Trevor Cole on Unsplash

Conclusion:

We have some of the benefits and the risks with which we can make informed decisions. Medicine posits that circumcision benefits society by increased health and longevity. Parents are also tasked with making medical life-altering decisions about another person without their consent.

I have taught my eldest son how to retract the foreskin for hygiene purposes and to date he has had no issues with that. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential whether we decide to circumcise or to remain uncircumcised.

Your thoughts are always welcome — to circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question?

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org
  2. http://www.auanet.org
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc
  5. https://med.stanford.edu

19 thoughts on “Should They Be Circumcised?

  1. Allow me to give a biased answer; circumcision is good as it marks the transition to adulthood for the males according to African Traditional Society and christianity as well.
    They symbolize growth and growing up and learning that there are fewer cons than pros, I grew to be okay with it.
    What am against is Female Genital Mutilation.

    1. I hear you… but as a mom I could not let them snip my baby… no one was going to “cut” my baby anywhere.
      I wrote a post on FGM in college for psychology many many years now– and I have one in the works… feel free to contribute some data, stories or references for me…. I am passionate about FGM and think it should never have begun.

      1. It’s okay..I will.
        Thanks for sharing your story with the world.
        God bless.

  2. Pene, Thank you for presenting both sides of the issue. Certainly, most people would be against a “botched” circumcision! It is true that infants have little say in the matter. Also true that it is more painful when older. Not an easy decision. All the best! Cheryl

    1. Thank you for your insightful comment.

  3. I am in full agreement with you, Pene.
    Thanks for sharing this vitally important information. 🤗🌷

  4. I just checked some facts, in response to the first commenter’s views that circumcision is part of ‘Christianity’.

    I am Catholic, and many of us consider it to be a form of mutilation.
    Thanks, again, Pene, for writing. 🤗🌷

  5. I appreciate your insightful comment, of course I think if hygiene is thought and understood unless there is a medical need I would not circumcise my boys.

  6. 🥴…👉🏽…🔪…💥…👶🏼…⁉️

  7. Same agreement here!

  8. Informative. 🤗
    Thanks for sharing sis. 🤗

    P.S: Hope you are a lot better now?

    1. Yes feeling a lot better. The kids and I are actually in New York visiting Gee. So I am a little behind on the posting.

      1. That is good. Glad to know you are sis.
        Wow. That is great. 💃

        It has sure been a great time together. Do extend my regards to him and the children sis.

        About the post. It’s okay. Do try to rest and get better on time too. 🤗

        1. Thank you for the kind words. I can’t seem to help it. I sleep a lot now. I did not sleep this much before this is how know the body is still healing or perhaps I am just getting older 😁

  9. This is very interesting. In Ghana it’s common for males to be circumcised at birth. It’s been linked to Christianity somehow. Almost all Christians in Ghana including Catholics do it. We were also made to think of an uncircumcised penis as dirty and like taboo. I’ve witnessed people disrespect women for sleeping with Chinese men because they are uncircumcised.
    I recently had sexual relations with a British who is uncircumcised. I did not expect beforehand that he wouldn’t be circumcised and so it was a surprise but went along with it anyway. Afterwards I mentioned he was my first uncircumcised and he commented that it’s the norm in the UK. I searched online and truly it said about 90% of men in UK and 70% globally are uncircumcised. Putting circumcision which is the very norm in most African countries at a minority, and that was a wow thing for me.
    There was absolutely nothing dirty or wierd about the uncircumcised penis and it made me really question why exactly we do it. Because obviously Christians in other parts of the world are not doing it.

    1. I do not believe if God created the penis in a certain way that there is anything wrong with it unless of course it has a medical issue of some kind. The head of the penis boasts some 400 nerve endings and I feel as if a lot of men are being “short changed” with circumcision. With knowledge and cleaning techniques taught I personally have never seen the need for it and did not have my kids circumcised.
      Interesting perspective and now in America government insurance will no longer pay to have it done, even with all the science behind it, so it leaves one to wonder… but science is fluid and things, perceptions and science changes.

      1. Yes it’s very interesting that with the whole health concern bombarded into our heads about it, still a greater percentage of people do not do it and most in well developed and advanced countries who do have quality health care and focus on quality health.

  10. a well presented post on a crucial issue … I like you have seen the extreme pain this causes and I do wonder if we are made perfectly [as in no medical need] in his image why, how can people justify such barbaric torture! Coz that is exactly what it is …

    leave well alone ..

    1. I concur. Thank you for your insight.

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