To circumcise or not to circumcise. This is one question that the parents of newborn baby boys in Montreal have to answer at some point. The process of circumcision involves the surgical removal of the foreskin to expose the head of the penis, also known as the glans.
For many families, especially those with Jewish or Muslim inclinations, the circumcision of male baby boys is a given. For others, however, the decision to circumcise or not to circumcise is always debatable.
There is mounting evidence from research done in the past few decades suggesting that the surgical removal of the foreskin may have certain enviable health benefits. Despite this, data shows that the number of families opting to circumcise their baby boys in North America has gone down by over 55% in the last decade. One of the reasons for this decline in the number of families opting for circumcision can be attributed to the cost of circumcision.
Fewer health insurance companies cover it, and then out-of-pocket costs may be prohibitive to most people. However, the decision on whether to circumcise or not should not solely rely on the ability to afford the procedure. If you are looking for more insights on whether or not you should consider it for your newborn baby boy, then here is a brief look at some of the health benefits attributed to it-:
Reduced Risks of Urinary Tract Infection
Over the years, several studies have come up with sufficient evidence to suggest that male circumcision can help to lower the chances of serious unitary tract infections during the first year of the boys’ lives. If a unitary tract infection is not treated, it has the potential of introducing dangerous bacteria into the bloodstream, and this can lead to further complications such as kidney damage.
Reduced Risks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
It is not always easy for parents to visualize their newborns calling them mom for the first time, much less growing up to become sexually active. The prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, therefore, sounds like something abstract that is not even worth considering when the child has not even taken their first step.
However, there are three randomized clinical trials involving adult African men that will make you concerned about helping your child prevent sexually transmitted diseases through circumcision. According to the randomized clinical trials, it was observed that male circumcision can be an effective way of reducing the risks of acquiring the deadly HIV/AIDS.
Though the primary focus of the research was in the continent of Africa where there are higher risks of getting HIV infection, experts from around the world believe that the results of the trials are relevant to every other person in all the regions of the world. There are two reasons believed to make the foreskin a great contributor to the contraction of HIV/AIDS.
The first reason is that the foreskin has certain immune system cells that the HIV virus can easily attach to during sexual intercourse. The second reason is the fact that the foreskin normally suffers small tears during sexual intercourse, and through those tears, HIV can easily enter the bloodstream and start circulating. It is believed that through circumcision, it may be possible to reduce these risks.
It is even fascinating that during a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, male circumcision was linked to reduced risks of penile HPV – human papillomavirus infection as well as herpes simplex virus type 2. There are also several studies that have concluded that there are low risks of cervical cancer in women whose partners are men who have been circumcised.
Reduced Risks of Penile Cancer
If you are worried about penile cancer or you don’t want your newborn son to worry about it, then getting him circumcised is something you will have to consider. It is believed that newborn circumcision provides some protection against penile cancer.
This is because penile cancer is a form of cancer that only affects the foreskin. Therefore, by removing the foreskin through the act of circumcision, you are greatly reducing the chances of it ever occurring. However, it is pleasing to observe that North America and other developed countries have very low risks of this form of cancer.
No Problems With Foreskin-Related Issues
In the absence of the foreskin, no man will have to worry about suffering from any kind of foreskin-related problems. Additionally, they will not have to worry about suffering from a condition such as phimosis. This is a very rare condition known to make the foreskin impossible to retract. It can cause a lot of pain during sexual intercourse, especially in the absence of proper lubrication during the act.
Despite the health benefits of circumcision, the ultimate decision to circumcise or not will always depend on the parents. If you don’t have any religious inclination for it, then no one will ever compel you to have your son circumcised when they are still young. For some parents, it is always tempting to keep this decision until later in life.
Some argue that the decision to circumcise or not should be made by the boy when they are of age. However, experts agree that the risks when performed later may be significantly high compared to when it is done when the child is still an infant. As such, it is recommended that if it is to be done, then the best time to do it is when the boy is still young.
There are also instances when the choice to circumcise or not to circumcise is purely medical. For example, boys suffering from a condition such as a hypospadias where the opening of the urethra is in the wrong place, are never encouraged to go for circumcision.
This is because there is a higher likelihood that the surgeon may use the foreskin during the reconstructive surgery to position the urethra in the right place. Also, if your family has a history of bleeding disorders, or if the baby was born prematurely, circumcision may not usually be an option worth exploring.