Circumcision The Medical Pros and Cons (cont.)
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Circumcision: medical pros and cons facts
- What has been the medical view of circumcision?
- What is the anatomy of the penis?
- What is a retractable foreskin?
- What is newborn circumcision?
- What is phimosis?
- What is paraphimosis?
- What is balanoposthitis?
- What is meatitis?
- Is it easier to care for the circumcised penis or uncircumcised penis?
- What is the relationship between circumcision and urinary tract infections?
- What is the relationship between circumcision and sexually transmitted diseases?
- What is the correlation between sexually transmitted diseases and cancer of the cervix?
- What is the relationship between circumcision and cancer of the penis?
- Find a local Pediatrician in your town
What is meatitis?
Meatitis is inflammation of the opening (the meatus) of the penis. This opening is formally called the external urethral meatus.
What is the relationship between circumcision and meatitis?
Meatitis is more common in boys who have been circumcised. This stands to reason since, in circumcised boys the urethral meatus is more exposed and likely to be chafed or irritated than in boys who were not circumcised. There is no evidence that meatitis leads to narrowing (stenosis) of the urethral meatus or to other serious problems.
Is it easier to care for the circumcised penis or uncircumcised penis?
The circumcised penis is generally easier to keep clean. An uncircumcised boy should be taught to clean his penis with care. Cleaning of the penis is done by gently, not forcibly, retracting the foreskin. The foreskin should be retracted only to the point where resistance is met. Full retraction of the foreskin may not be possible until the boy is 3 years old or older.
What is the relationship between circumcision and urinary tract infections?
The incidence of urinary tract infections in male infants appears to be lower when circumcision is done in the newborn period. It was first reported in 1982 that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common among infant males than they are in infant females (this switches later on in life). In this study, it was revealed that about 95% of the infected infant boys had not been circumcised. This risk is especially significant in infants less than 1 year of age. Many studies have shown that uncircumcised infants have a tenfold increased risk of developing a UTI when compared to circumcised infants.
What might this relationship between circumcision and urinary tract infections mean?
Circumcision prevents the growth of bacteria under the foreskin and this, in turn, protects male infants against urinary tract infection. The high incidence of urinary tract infections in uncircumcised boys has also been found to be accompanied by an increased incidence of other significant infections such as bacteremia (bacterial infection of the bloodstream) and meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain). The protective effect of circumcision may thus extend to a number of infectious diseases.
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