Circumcision surgically removes the foreskin, exposing the tip of the penis. An infant must be stable and healthy to safely be circumcised; surgery is usually performed within the first few days of birth. There are pain medicines available that are safe and effective and recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce discomfort.
Reasons parents may choose circumcision
- A lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), of developing cancer of the penis and of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Prevention of foreskin infections
- Prevention of phimosis (a condition in males where the foreskin does not fully retract)
- Easier genital hygiene
Reasons parents may choose not to circumcise
- Complications from circumcision are rare and usually minor. Problems that may occur include bleeding, infection, cutting the foreskin too short or too long and improper healing.
- The tip of the penis may become irritated causing the opening of the penis to become too small, which can cause urinary problems that may need to be surgically corrected.
- The belief that circumcision makes the tip of the penis less sensitive, causing a decrease in sexual pleasure later in life.
- Proper hygiene can also lower chances of getting infections, cancer of the penis and sexually transmitted diseases.
What if I choose not to have my son circumcised?
Talk to your baby’s doctor about when and how to keep your son’s penis clean. It may take the foreskin several years to retract and should not be forced. As your son gets older he can learn how to maintain the hygiene of his genital area and other body parts.