April 25, 2008

Circumcision

The subject of circumcision is similar to discussing religion or politics. Most people are likely to have strong views on the subject from an empathic position that no amount of evidence could change their positions. After hearing countless argument of family and friends about circumcised versus uncircumcised, I have found that the best that I can do is to provide information and make people aware of some of the main facts about circumcision.

Circumcision is a subject that greatly affects medical politics. In as early as 1975, about 93% of all American boys are being circumcised or had their foreskin surgically removed just after birth. From then on, there has been a movement to stop such a medically unnecessary practice. Today the figures had considerably dropped down. In 1990, only 63% of infant males were circumcised for reasons other than religious traditions.

The practice of circumcision is routinely done for hygienic and not medical reasons. Many people believe that it is more hygienic or at least it is easier to care for penis if it is circumcised. Infection or inflammation of the foreskin affects about 10% - 14% of uncircumcised boys, while inflammation of the "glans" or "balanitis" is twice as common in uncircumcised children as circumcised and greater than five folds in adults.

On the other hand, urinary tract infections occur in about 1 in 100 uncircumcised boys in the first year of life, and 1 in 1,000 in circumcised boys. There is also an increased risk of inflammation and infections of the foreskin and glans in uncircumcised males. However, it all comes down to personal opinion whether the increased risks are significant enough to warrant circumcision.

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