Circumcision refers to the removal of the skin that covers the tip of the male penis, also known as the foreskin. While the procedure is commonly performed during infancy, circumcision in children and adults is also possible, but it is less common and more complicated than when performed in newborns. It is an ancient cultural ritual and essential practice in some major religions, including Judaism and Islam.
While circumcising their newborn sons is a matter of the family’s personal preference and ethical and cultural beliefs, there is substantial scientific evidence demonstrating that circumcision brings along several long-term health benefits extending to adulthood.
Without further ado, let us take a look at some of the significant advantages of undergoing the procedure in light of medical evidence that supports it.
Lower Risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)
Several studies suggest that uncircumcised babies are more likely to contract urinary tract infections than those who are circumcised. As per a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, circumcised infants had a 88 percent lower risk of developing UTIs in their first year of life. Severe infections may lead to kidney problems later on in life.
Prevents Penile Problems
Circumcised males are at a significantly lesser risk of developing penile problems than those who are uncircumcised. These include Phimosis, in which the foreskin becomes tight and difficult or impossible to extract, causing pain and urinary issues. As mentioned at Russell Medical, it makes it difficult to clean the penis, which can cause inflammation of the foreskin, increasing the risk of penile cancer significantly. While there are treatments available, Phimosis can be prevented with circumcision.
Lower Risk of HIV
There is compelling evidence that circumcision decreases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, during vaginal intercourse by approximately 60 percent in men. That is because it removes the foreskin that is particularly prone to the virus by getting torn and ruptured during sex, which allows pathogens to enter the male’s bloodstream.
With that said, it is vital to practice safe sex by using protective methods like condoms, as circumcision only offers partial protection from the infection.
Lower Risk of Penile Cancer
Although a rare condition, penile cancer appears to be a bit more common in males who smoke, who are not circumcised, and those infected with HIV/AIDS or HPV. Circumcision reduces the likelihood of penile cancer as it prevents Phimosis which is a significant risk factor. Also, cervical cancer is much less common in female sexual partners of circumcised men.
As per The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the benefits of circumcision outweigh its risks. The procedure is short, lasting around 20 minutes, and is safer to perform in male infants during the first week of life than in later life. Delaying it means that your child loses out on some of its protective benefits.
Whether you choose to do it for religious, medical, or cultural reasons, circumcision is a common and safe procedure that carries low risks and considerable health benefits for your child.