Saturday, December 09, 2017

Male Circumcision is a worthwhile public health measure.

Male Circumcision is a worthwhile public health measure. There is some argument over the relative value of it, but if your culture or religion suggests it, there is no reason not to perform one. You might hear some of the following myths about circumcision, which I have followed with the actual facts.

Myth: Circumcision reduces sexual pleasure
Fact: The best studies done on the subject have found no reduction in the ability to have enjoyable sexual relations, compared to uncircumcised men.
Myth: At a Bris, the Mohel performs circumcision without anesthetic
Fact: Traditional Jewish circumcisions use a very safe and effective method of reducing pain in infants. See: http://www.usamohel.com/anesthesia-for-a-bris and also this WebMD article

Myth: The CDC’s support for circumcision is due to pressure from religious advocacy groups.
Fact: There are substantial reasons to circumcise infants, many of which are detailed in this article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478224/#B6
The reasons include, reduced lifetime risk of Genital Cancer from HPV, and reduced risk of HIV infection. It is also worth noting that while other national medical associations do not evaluate the benefits as greater than the risks, there is no association anywhere, even in countries with very low rates of circumcision, that bans the procedure.

Myth: The CDC only recently added STD prevention as a reason, it is just a pretext.
Fact: As long ago as 1855 it was noticed that circumcision dramatically reduces the incidence of syphilis.  While Dr Hutchinson's mathematical methods have been criticized (not surprising since modern statistics wasn't invented until some years later), current research supports his findings: circumcision reduces risk of syphilis and chancroid.

Myth: Circumcision is unnecessary, regular washing gives the same benefits
Fact: As indicated by the articles linked just above, circumcision has substantial effects in reducing STD transmission.  While the use of a  condom is also an effective barrier to disease transmission, safe sex practices are not always followed by everyone, but a surgical solution will always be there.  Of course, if you do choose not to circumcise your son, you should be sure he is educated on proper care.  The HPV vaccine is probably also a good idea.

Myth: If you support Male Circumcision (MC) you have no right to criticize Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Fact: FGM covers a variety of practices, none of which have been found to provide any health benefits whatsoever.  Some FGM practices involve the removal of the clitoris, which is a highly sensitive organ, critical for sexual pleasure.  This is completely unlike MC, which has no effect on sexual pleasure (see Myth 1, above).

Disclaimer: I should not need to say this, but just in case, you should know that I am not a physician. I wrote this based on a fair amount of internet research, and that is it.  If you have any questions or concerns about your health,  or your child's health, you should consult a qualified medical practitioner.


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