Circumcised vs. Uncircumcised: Weighing Risks and Benefits

Debates surrounding circumcision span generations, cultures and religions. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently renewed the discussion by issuing a statement reporting that the health benefits of newborn circumcision outweigh the risks and that the benefits justify access to the procedure for families who choose it for their newborn.

Opponents of newborn circumcision believe it is cruel and can cause disfigurement. But risks are quite small in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Uncircumcised men who practice daily hygiene and consistent safer-sex habits do not need to undergo the procedure. Of course, it’s impossible to predict a newborn’s hygiene habits in adulthood.

Proponents point out that, although rare in the US, penile cancer never occurs in those who are circumcised in early childhood. And despite conflicting reports in medical literature and the mass media, there is no clear evidence that sexual satisfaction is changed or reduced after circumcision. On the other hand, multiple studies have proven that there is reduced incidence of sexually transmitted diseases with circumcision. As such, circumcision seems a reasonable tool as a public health initiative.

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