The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, but doesn’t medically recommend or advise against the procedure. Circumcision isn’t routine for all male newborns because health professionals and the AAP recognize the parents’ right to make a decision for their own infant.
About two-thirds of newborn boys in the United States are circumcised. Circumcision offers numerous benefits for your child as he grows and develops. Our pediatrician, Margaret Lubega, MD, wants you to know about these three benefits of circumcision for your baby.
1. Decreased risk of future problems with the penis
The penis is a pretty hearty organ, but it’s at risk of developing disease and other problems. For example, penile cancer is rare but it develops the least often in men who are circumcised.
Some boys or men have a problem when their penis is uncircumcised in which the foreskin just won’t retract. Known as phimosis, the problem can lead to inflammation and pain in the foreskin and head of the penis.
2. Decreased risk of infection
Circumcision can help keep the glans, the tip of the penis, free of inflammation. The glans is where the opening of the urethra is. Although the risk of urinary tract infections in men is low, uncircumcised men are more likely to develop one than circumcised men.
Plus, as your son grows, a circumcised penis can lower a man’s risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Of course, he should learn safe sex practices, but extra protection from a circumcised penis is a good thing.
3. Ease of hygiene
A circumcised penis is also easier for you and your child to wash and keep clean. Of course, a boy with an uncircumcised penis can be taught to wash regularly beneath his foreskin.
What happens during circumcision?
Circumcision is often performed before a baby boy leaves the hospital after birth. Otherwise it’s usually done within the first 2-3 weeks of your baby’s life. It can be done after the newborn period, but the procedure is more complex.
Your son’s circumcision can be done in the office at First Pediatric Care Center. The procedure is quick and routine, with little risk of complications. Following circumcision, you’ll need to care for your baby’s penis by keeping it clean with soap and water. If there’s a dressing applied to the penis, you’ll change it each time you change his diaper.
Expect it to take up to 10 days to heal fully. During the healing period, it’s normal for the area to be red and slightly swollen. The penis may also leak a small amount of blood or pus-like discharge in the first few days. These side effects are completely normal, but if they persist longer than 2-3 days, call our office right away.
The minor surgical procedure removes the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis. For some people, circumcision is part of an important religious ritual.
If you live in or around Gastonia, North Carolina, and have questions about your baby’s circumcision, you can call First Pediatric Care or schedule an in-person consultation using this website.