Circumcision is a minor surgical procedure done to remove the foreskin from the hood of the penis. The procedure is commonly performed on infants, usually before your baby leaves the hospital.
You, as a parent, are given a choice as to whether or not to circumcise your child. The decision to circumcise is based on religious, ethical, and personal reasons. From a health perspective, however, it’s pretty clear that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Margaret Lubega, here at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, has extensive experience in caring for newborns, infants, and children. Here are the myths and facts she says you should know about circumcision.
Myth: Circumcision is just a “cosmetic” procedure
Removing the foreskin is sometimes called just a cosmetic change to the penis. But circumcision actually offers clear medical benefits to a male child and adult, especially when compared to a cosmetic procedure like tattooing or piercing. Circumcision provides life-long health protections, including reduced risk of penile cancer.
Fact: Circumcision leads to better male hygiene
A circumcised penis is easier to clean, which reduces instances of urinary tract infections and inflammatory skin conditions. Adolescents and men who have not been circumcised are more likely to develop infection due to the accumulation of smegma under the foreskin. Plus, zipper injuries, in which the foreskin gets caught and torn, are more likely in uncircumcised males.
Myth: Circumcision negatively affects sexual function
Circumcision does not affect the ability of your son to reach an erection in the future, and being circumcised does not change his ability to experience pleasure or have children. Sexual sensation, pleasure, and function are the same whether a man is circumcised or not.
Fact: Circumcision can reduce instances of STDs later
Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men. It also protects against syphilis, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Women partners of circumcised males also benefit. They have a reduced risk of cervical cancer due to protection against certain strains of HPV.
Myth: You should wait until your child can decide for himself
Some people argue that you should wait until your child is old enough to decide for himself whether or not to circumcise. Teen or adult circumcision is possible, but it carries greater risk and long recovery, and it’s expensive.
Fact: Early circumcision offers benefits
Circumcision offers significant benefits for children, including prevention of urinary tract infections, especially in the first year of life, and phimosis – a condition in which the foreskin can’t be pulled back from the head of the penis. When you circumcise early, your infant may experience some bleeding and bruising, but Dr. Lubega offers aftercare instructions and ointments to expedite healing.
Myth: Circumcision can lead to injury
It’s very rare for a circumcision to cause injury or disfigurement of the penis, especially when performed by a trained and competent provider like Dr. Lubega. When done in a sterile environment using the appropriate tools and pain management, circumcision is quite safe.
If you’re having a baby boy, consult with our office when making the important decision about circumcision. We’ll also communicate with your labor and delivery team about your choice and let them know that Dr. Lubega will do the procedure at the office of First Pediatric Care Center. Call us today to discuss your options or use the online tool to make an appointment.