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Why Circumcise Your Son

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Most men in the United States have been circumcised. Other than majority compliance, why is it even a consideration?

By Kevin RR Williams

A Little Extra Skin

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During circumcision the skin that covers the tip of the penis is surgically removed, exposing the glans. A clamp or ring is placed on the penis that later falls off. The doctor then applies an ointment like petroleum jelly and wraps it in gauze, allowing the patient to go home in a few hours.

Within 10 days, the surgical site should suffi­ciently heal. A medical need for circumcision includes correcting foreskin that is too tight to be retracted from the glans or to reduce the risk of certain sexually transmitted infections.

Biblical Origin

The origin of male circumcision (Latin: cut around) is well documented in the Bible canon. The covenant was made with Abraham and his offspring in 1919 BCE. (Genesis 9:10). As illustrated on wall paintings and observed on mummies, circum­cision was practiced by Egyptians. Some postulate this occurred when Joseph, the grandson of Abraham, ascended to power as food administra­tor in Egypt—centuries before the Israelite exodus.

The law later given through Moses included the require­ment to circumcise males on the eighth day. (Leviticus 12:2, 3) Optimum amounts of blood-clotting vitamin K and prothrom­bin are present then. But the law’s Holy signifi­cance out­weighed medical benefits. The require­ment extended to proselytes. (Exodus 12:48)

As Israelites and non-Israelites became Christians in the first century, the question of whether circum­cision remained a require­ment was addressed by the Apostles. (Acts 15:5, 19) For Christians, it is optional. —1 Corinthians 7:19.

Health Benefits of Male Circumcision

Today, the 10-minute male circumcision procedure is performed in hospitals at the request of parents within 10 days of a male birth. This is common among Jewish and Islamic families, as well as aboriginal tribes. Due to shorter hospital stays, most babies are circum­cised within 2 days of birth.

Studies indicate that between 0–3 percent of all circum­cisions have complica­tions such as bleeding or infection. While leaving the choice to parents and adult male patients, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circum­cision out­weigh the slight risks:

  • Easier hygiene – Washing the penis is simpler since it does not require retraction.
  • Decreased risk of UTIs – Male urinary tract infections are more common in uncircumcised males.
  • Decreased risk of STIs – Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections.
  • Prevention of penile problems – A condition called phimosis prevents foreskin retraction, leading to inflammation.
  • Decreased risk of penile cancer – Although, cancer of the penis is less common in circumcised men, as is cervical cancer in their female sexual partners.

As a global practice, about 80 percent of adult men in the United States have circumcised genitals. The months of August and September records the highest number of births. When deciding for their sons, many fathers may duplicate their own experience with circum­cision or uncircum­cision

Others dwell on the pain or emotional trauma—that the child will not remember days later. For male children to be A Bit More Healthy on into adulthood, parents may consider, medical, religious, and/or hygienic criteria. Then discuss options with a family physician.

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