Researcher says the protection boys get from circumcision against severe infection is comparable to what they get from vaccination.
A study of male infant circumcision, published in the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, has found the benefits of the procedure far exceed the associated risks by 200 to one.
The study by researchers at the University Sydney, the University of New South Wales and several teaching hospitals reports that uncircumcised males face an 80 per cent risk of developing a foreskin-related condition requiring medical attention, reports Courier Mail.
By comparison, the risk of an “associated adverse event” from the circumcision procedure is about one in 250, or less than one per cent.
“Over their lifetime more than one in two uncircumcised males will suffer an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Brian Morris, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney. No evidence of adverse effect on penile function, sexual sensitivity or pleasure was found, Dr Morris said.
The studies determined the level of protection male circumcision affords against conditions such as urinary infections, inflammatory conditions, sexually transmitted infections and genital cancers, as well as the level of risk posed by the circumcision procedure in infancy.
Dr Morris said circumcision was a desirable public health intervention and public hospital policy in all states of permitting male circumcision only for medical reasons was “penny wise, pound foolish”.
He said that these preventable infections were costing the health system millions of dollars.
“The enormous benefit but low risk makes early infant circumcision akin to childhood vaccination,” he said.
Research suggests that circumcision may bring medical benefits such as:
- A 10 times lower risk of a baby getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) in his first year of life (remembering that only one per cent of babies are at risk of a UTI, so 1,000 circumcisions are needed to prevent one UTI)
- No risk of infants and children getting infections under the foreskin
- Easier genital hygiene
- Much lower risk of getting cancer of the penis (although this is a very rare condition and good genital hygiene also seems to reduce the risk. More than 10,000 circumcisions are needed to prevent one case of penile cancer)
- A possibly lower risk of men getting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) than men who are not circumcised (although these studies have not been scientifically confirmed and safe sex practices are far more effective in preventing these infections).
Complications following circumcision are rare, but can include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Cutting the foreskin too short or too long
- Irritation to the head of the penis, since the foreskin seems to protect the head of the penis
- Narrowing of the meatus (the tube that allows urine to exit from the body)
- Reduced sensitivity, which may cause a decrease in sexual pleasure later in life or painful intercourse for the man’s sexual partner.
We much prefer to hear from real people though! What is your experience?
As a mum of two boys myself I must admit both of them are uncircumcised and neither of them have had any infections or issues at all. Touch wood!
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