Parenting 101 FAQ Answer – Circumcision

What is circumcision?

Circumcision (Circ.) is a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin that covers the top of the male penis.

 

What does the foreskin do?

The foreskin is a fold of skin with many nerves and blood cells which protects the glans/tip of the penis and has sensory function as it contains some of the most sensitive areas of the penis. Similar to the inside of your mouth and eyelid, it helps the glads stay naturally lubricated.

 

How do you take care of the foreskin?

The foreskin requires no special attention in infancy. The foreskin should never be forcibly pulled back as this may be painful, or result in injury to the foreskin.

It is normal for the foreskin to be connected to the tip of the penis in newborn males and for it to be too narrow to pull back. It should be left alone. The foreskin naturally begins to loosen and separate away from the tip of the penis during childhood, so that by the age of 5 most boys can partially pull back the foreskin. By puberty most boys will be able to fully pull back the foreskin away from the tip of the penis.

 

How common is it these days?

In Australia, circumcision became a routine practice in the 1950’s, however in the past 50 years this trend has decreased.

Today it is estimated that 10-20% of newborn male infants are circumcised.

 

Why is infant Circ. performed?

Circ. Is mainly performed on babies for religious or cultural reasons. Some parents also choose this procedure for hygiene and aesthetical reasons.

In cases where the foreskin is excessively tight around the tip of the penis, (known as phimosis), circumcision may not need to be the first option. This type of situation will often respond well to other treatment such as the application of special creams.  In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV and syphilis) are rare, research suggests that being circumcised does not make a significant difference.  Circumcision reduces the risk of infections under the foreskin, which sometimes happens in infancy and later in childhood. Circumcision has some benefit in preventing penile cancer later in life, however this disease is very rare in all men whether or not they have been circumcised.  Circumcision may lower a boy’s chance of getting a urinary tract infection, particularly in the first year of life. Circumcision is of most benefit to those boys who have recurrent urinary tract infections or a condition known as urinary reflux.

 

Are there any risks with the surgery?

As with any surgery there comes some risk. Some complications are more common than other and minor or serious. These all include infection of the penis, bleeding where the foreskin was removed, damage to the tip of penis, loss of function, loss of the penis or

death. There is also risk of psychological complications associated with loss of choice and individual rights.

 

At what age and where can I have my son done?

Some surgeons preferred that the procedure is done before 4 weeks of age however it can be done at any age pending the surgeon. It is best to speak with your advised professional on what age they will perform it and when they recommend.

 

MM MEMBERS RECOMMEND:

Dr. Anthony Dilley

Dr. Tamer Kahil

Dr. Adrian Sheen

 

Do girls and boys get circumcised?

In Australia no, it is against the law to circumcise females, this procedure is said to have no health benefits for girls and women and is labelled as female genital mutilation and is in violation of human rights.

 

How do I look after the penis after surgery?

Very gentle daily cleaning, and pain relief is recommend. There may be swelling, crust, blood in the following days/weeks. It is best to always follow the advice given from your doctor or surgeon. Contact your health professional you’re your individual recommendations.

 

For more and up to date information please visit these reference sites below.

https://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=39396AC9-E30B-7941-0FD53740FF78DBC8

http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/malecircumcision/manual_infant/en/

http://www0.health.nsw.gov.au/policies/pd/2012/PD2012_009.html

http://www.health.vic.gov.au/surgery/policies.htm

 

Why didn’t or did you choose to circumcise?

MM MEMBERS THAT DIDN’T CIRCUMCISE SAID…

 

“I had all intentions of doing my son and read up on all the pros and cons and couldn’t find any information that was a clear cut (don’t mind the pun) reason to do it or not to. Once I had him in my arms I just couldn’t bring myself to do it so decided against it”.

 

“I didn’t have a strong enough opinion either way so I left it up to my husband and after we did some research together we didn’t find the need to get it done… I was always leaving it up to my husband

though as I don’t have a penis I felt their father could make the final decision”.

 

“I didn’t…..because I think it’s an unnecessary surgical procedure, and my son is perfect the way he is and doesn’t need bits of his body chopped off….his dad was done but this wasn’t a deciding factor for us”.

 

“Not my body part, not my decision. Hubby in full agreeance. Not medically necessary”.

 

“We did some full on research, including that Michael Moore documentary that I can’t remember its name now but that definitely changed my hubby’s view. Also the fact that it’s not routinely offered and that we would have to chase it up ourselves, pay for it and make our own arrangements put him off a bit. Thankfully we had a girl first so when our little boy was born last year it wasn’t even a question. My hubby is totally fine now with them not looking the same. I could never do it to my little man”.

 

“Firstly I had pregnancy brain still going on and had castrating stuck in my head!! But knew that was not it! So was too embarrassed to ask at hospital! Second I got it stuck in my head it was after 6 weeks, turns out the only place near me would only do it before 6 weeks! By this time I figured it was meant to stay…..

Since then I have new partner and he is circumcised and is not happy that it was done to him as a bub, so as a result our new little boy is also not circumcised”.

 

“I was going to get them done but my husband didn’t want them to be and I went with his decision because he is the one that will have to talk to them about male hygiene etc”.

 

“If he wasn’t meant to have it he wouldn’t have been born with it. 2. I couldn’t put him through the pain. 3. It’s not my body to make that decision. 4. We are not whatever religion that routinely does it. 5. There are risks involved. 6. It costs money we could spend on something else. 7. He is perfect just the way he is”.

 

“To keep same as father, nothing taken away”

 

“I wanted to circumcise as I’m not a fan of uncircumcised, and for health reasons I’d read about etc… but my husband said no, and wouldn’t budge, so

we didn’t. Looking back, I’m totally glad that we didn’t. He was right. Why on earth would we chop off part of their body? He also said that it sometimes affects sensation for some. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was thinking, and I’m glad my boys are how God made them”.

 

“It’s no longer recommended as a standard procedure medically either. Foreskin has nerve endings in it, not just a useless bit of skin”. “He was born with it, why would I take it away”?

 

“We were going to, right up until about 3 hours after he was born and they came to take his blood. The cry he made when they cut his skin (over and over, apparently he was a ‘terrible bleeder’…) broke my heart in two and I just said to my husband “No” so we didn’t. He tells me he still would have preferred we had it done, but understands why I couldn’t. I just couldn’t bear the thought of hurting him for something I felt wasn’t necessary”.

“Both my boys are intact. His body his choice. There is no reason for it and every supposed ‘benefit’ has been disproven without a doubt”.

 

“We didn’t because it’s not necessary. Unless it’s for a medical reason I don’t think that it should be done at all. There is a reason why you have to pay lots of money to get it done and hardly any doctors do it anymore. It’s basically a cosmetic procedure”.

 

“Because the prepuce (foreskin) has 20,000 nerve endings which means a whole lot of pain when you cut through them and much less sexual sensitivity when he will want it later in life. It’s no different to female genital mutilation. And it’s not my body to decide to permanently alter it. My husband and both sons are intact and there has never been any issues”.

 

“We did a lot of research and a health professional advice against it, and found it odd that there are very few people that will do it. We were also told that there is only around 10% of infants that have it done. Just

not something that happens often and we wondered why, put all the information together and decided against it”.

 

 

MM MEMBERS THAT DID CIRCUMCISE SAID…

 

“Both my boys are circumcised, main reasons where that my partner was done so I didn’t want them to look or feel different and my nephew who was NOT circumcised had constant infections poor boy it really is a personal decision, I also had a girlfriends little boy have to go into theatre at 5 years old to be circumcised due to a massive infection”!

 

“My son is circumcised due to something he was born with that needed correcting but before we knew that we had decided to do it anyways. Reasons being, its cleaner. Much less chance of infections. The rate of boys needing it later on in life is on the rise and I would much prefer my boy get it young when they don’t remember. My husband needed it done at 4yrs due to

constant infections but we also know adults who have needed it due to erectile problems”.

 

“In short I did it as I don’t want my son to have to get it done when his 30 years old as a number of issues can happen (besides keeping clean) which I didn’t want to risk. I had my 6 week old done he didn’t feel it and fully recovered. I didn’t do it for looks etc. I did it as I felt disease and infections freaked me out and wanted him to not have problems in the future”.

 

“Dad was and the amount of children I have known that have had to be circumcised as 5 year old plus or even as teenagers which was a very painful operation it was an easy decision”!

 

“Hygiene reason and my hubby is circumcised also”.

 

“I’ve taken both my boys for hygiene reasons … it’s the needle (local anesthetic) that hurts them the most… my 1st was fine after a week … my 2nd had stitches and was fine after 2 weeks… both Panadol for 2 days

and their fine… I know men who have had to get it done in early mid late teens even their twenties. …. I don’t regret it for a second”.

 

“It just made sense for is to do it, the pros certainly outweighed the cons”!

 

“Extensive kidney damage. I circumcised him as it dramatically reduces the chance of further infections & further kidney damage”.

 

“It’s a cultural thing on daddy’s side”.

 

“I left the decision up to my husband and he wanted it done”

 

“We did. Hubby done and I felt he had primary decision making over the fact I was neither here nor there. Hubby did a bit of research in to it. He believed lots more benefits (medically – but then there’s probably as many for as against positions out there). We know of a

number of kids who had bad infections and basically that was end decision point. Glad we did and if we had another boy we would do it again”

 

“My husband wanted our son to be like his daddy. I didn’t want to have him done at first. The only thing that changed my mind was someone close to me saying that when my son got to old age it can become a problem keeping it clean…… especially if he was in care such as a nursing home. It would haunt me in the grave if it was ever to happen to him”.

 

“We decided to circumcise our son for a number of reasons. 1. My husband is so we wanted it to be the same. 2. Because my husband is circumcised, he wasn’t confident to Yeah or sob how to clean it if we were to decide against his circumcision. 3. It is far easier when men age as they may not be able to clean it. 4. We knew quite a few boys/men who had to be done far later in life due to infections and issues with their foreskin and the while thing was traumatic for them. 5. Family choice – every male in my husband’s family is”.

“Daddy is but I have heard of men having to go and get it done . They pain & healing after is crazy .. My son never remembers it being done did not cry & was easy to heal .. Why have something there that can become a problem later .. I know a lot of people say hygiene & people will say we have clean water etc but really no one can control that area when they are older there is no where bacteria can hide & you can see if there is problem .. I’m so glad that your son for done & I would not change it”.

 

“We have done both our boys, it looks nicer and far more hygienic and we didn’t want to face problems later on like infections. It’s a bit tough to go through ( I couldn’t be in the room, but waited outside) but I never regretted it, would do it again if I had another boy

 

“My sons done. Because his daddy is done and it’s a lot more hygienic for them as they’re learning about how to be hygienic themselves as they get older”.

 

“My hubby had a strangulated penis as a child, so got snipped at 7. The doctor recommended it at 4 weeks, as his foreskin felt tight. Very pleased with it”.

 

 

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