Circumcision is the procedure that removes a boy’s foreskin from the end of the penis, exposing the tip. Many parents choose to have circumcision done in the first few days of life before their baby leaves the hospital.
Circumcision is not a medical necessity, however. Families may circumcise for religious or cultural reasons. You may choose to circumcise your boy so he looks like his peers in the locker room. About 64% of American boys have been circumcised.
Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says parents should make the choice as to whether or not to circumcise. The organization does maintain that the benefits of circumcision outweigh any potential risks associated with the procedure.
If you’re not sure about circumcision and whether it’s right for your baby boy, here’s what our pediatrician, Dr. Margaret Lubega, at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, recommends you consider when making your decision.
Why you might choose circumcision
Research shows that boys who are circumcised have a lower chance of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) in the first year of life. If he’s not circumcised, a baby has a 10x the risk of having UTIs while an infant and a 23% higher risk over his lifetime.
It’s hard to imagine, your baby will one day be a sexually active man. If he’s circumcised, he’s less likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease, including syphilis, genital herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Cancer of the penis is quite rare, and rarest among circumcised men. Circumcision also prevents phimosis, which describes a condition when it is impossible to pull back the foreskin.
Your circumcised baby will also avoid getting uncomfortable foreskin infections.
Circumcision is not medically necessary
Although it has a lot of benefits for your baby boy, circumcision is not a medical necessity. Plenty of men go uncircumcised and have absolutely no health or sexual problems.
Almost all uncircumcised boys can be taught to properly clean the penis and foreskin to avoid infection. Circumcised men may actually have more sensation during sexual touch because there are nerve endings located in the foreskin.
What happens during circumcision?
A traditional circumcision may be performed at the hospital before he goes home, or Dr. Lubega can do it in the office of First Pediatric Care Center just a few days after birth.
Dr. Lubega applies anesthesia to the penile area to numb painful sensations associated with circumcision. She cleans the penis and foreskin and attaches a clamp to the penis. She uses a scalpel to remove the foreskin. The entire procedure takes just a few minutes.
After circumcision, you clean your baby’s penis normally during any diaper change. We give you an ointment that you apply to prevent the penis from sticking to the diaper. Your baby’s penis heals within 7-10 days.
If you do decide to circumcise, do so within a day or so of leaving the hospital or, if your baby had complications, as soon as they’re stable and healthy. Delaying circumcision means it will be more painful, recovery is more difficult, and the risk of infection is greater.
Call us at First Pediatric Care Center if you have more questions about circumcision. You can also set up an appointment to have your baby circumcised when you speak with one of our staff members.