To circ or not to circ – The Decision
My apologies for my absence in posting.
Two good reasons for this:
1. You can probably tell that the site has changed its “look and feel.” We are hoping to make it easier to navigate and provide space for partnerships with credible health related companies and sources. The site is a little over two years old and becoming a bit pricy to manage now that is becoming so popular. With partnerships the site should pay for itself very nicely and keep on running as a valuable source of information to the public.
2. More importantly, we have been awaiting the arrival of my first son ( I have 2 wonderful daughters.) In preparation for this arrival and being a new dad to a boy, I wanted to assure I made good health decisions for him. After all, I am a doctor. (By the way, being a doctor to your family does not always work.) In preparation for his arrival I delved into the research on the pro’s and cons of circumcision and had to decide to circ or not to circ?
I am a proud naturopathic doctor (ND) and complementary medicine practitioner. Most importantly, I am just a doctor who’s job is to determine what is the absolute best therapy for my patients, regardless if it’s natural or mainstream.
When making health decisions for my family I try to take the same approach. I say, “try” because it is typically more difficult making “objective” decisions about your own family.
It is generally “Un-naturopathic” to circumcise. After all, surgery is an un-natural process and it goes against the naturopathic “principle of do not harm.”
(FYI, naturopathic doctors believe in surgical procedures only when it is absolutely necessary. Do not want to misguide you in thinking that ND’s are irresponsible and dogmatic.)
It is thought that circumcision may cause psychological trauma to the new born that can have a negative effects as adults. This notion is unproven and very difficult to determine the validity of such connection.
Circumcision and religion
Circumcision is popular in Judaism and Islam. Less so in Christianity although there is a section in the bible, the book of genesis that says the following:
“And God said unto Abraham: See thou keep my testament, both thou and thy seed after thee in their times.
This is my testament which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee, that ye circumcise all your men children.
Ye shall circumcise the foreskin of your flesh, and it shall be a token of the bond betwixt me and you.
And every manchild when it is eight days old, shall be circumcised among you in your generations, and all servants also born at home or bought with money though they be strangers and not of thy seed.
The servant born in thy house, and he also that is bought with money, must needs be circumcised, that my testament may be in your flesh, for an everlasting bond.
If there be any uncircumcised man child, that hath not the foreskin of his flesh cut off, his soul shall perish from his people: because he hath broken my testament. “
– Genesis, 17: 10 – 14
Some Jews are vehemently opposed to circumcision, however, as I noticed on the website: Jews against circumcision.
Just recently in the U.S. a rare Jewish tradition has been linked with the transmission of herpes simplex viral infection (HSV-1), a common sexually transmitted disease. HSV-1 in adults cause watery blisters around the lips, mouth or genitals and it’s typically not deadly. In newborns it is deadly since newborns do not have a developed immune system to fight off infections. A small portion of ultra Orthodox Jewish rabbis and mohels (Jewish circumcisers) orally suction the blood from the genitals during circumcision in a process called metzitzah b’al peh [MbP] in Hebrew. Eleven cases of newborn HSV-1 infection were reported in New York City (NYC) between 2000 and 2011; all occurred after out-of-hospital brit milah, and 3 of the ceremonies were performed by a mohel who tested positive for the virus.
Is the science strong for circumcision?
Not really – especially in developed countries. Stronger evidence for circumcision exist in Uganda and other African countries.
The risk of not circumcising includes higher risk of: infection, HIV, Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), Sexually Transmitted Disease and penile cancer. Again, these occurrences are mostly in under-developed countries and not as prevalent in the United States or most developed countries. (Ahmed et al., 2012)
My wife and I agreed on circumcising our new born son. Actually, it wasn’t much of a conversation. I can see the criticism coming.
A small part of our decision came as a result of my clinical experience with teenage patients coming our clinic for the procedure (I do not perform this procedure myself.) Most often they were for cosmetic reasons. A few do to history of infection.
I admit, however, my decision was unscientific and based mostly on tradition (all males in my family have been circumcised – non religious reasons).
My 4-day old son seems to be doing just fine – although hard to tell of course. He is not crying anymore than my daughters did at that age and mostly when he is hungry.
Whether or not “the decision” has caused him psychological trauma is hard to assess. Not sure if my brothers and I have been psychologically damaged from the procedure although some may think so. 😉
Bottom line: there is no right answer and there are polar opposite views on circumcision. The risk seems to be minor for either decision. Uncircumcised men do need to pay more attention to hygiene as filth and micro pathogens can lodge between the foreskin and the head of the penis.
Tell me about you.
Any regrets from your or your parents decision on your circ or non-circ phallus?
Ahmed A, Ellsworth P;To circ or not: a reappraisal. Urol Nurs. 2012 Jan-Feb;32(1):10-8;