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Pros and Cons of Circumcision

Due to the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has repeatedly stated that they have found that there is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn, most medical insurance companies are no longer paying for the procedure. Now that this procedure has to be paid out of pocket there are a lot more parents out there taking a closer look at the pros and cons of circumcision.

Since the list of the pros for circumcision is much larger than the cons, we'll get the cons out of the way first. Circumcised male's biggest issue seems to be an increased chance of meatitis. Meatitis is a condition where males experience inflammation of the opening of the penis. This is because circumcised boys urethral meatus is more exposed and likely to be chaffed than in uncircumcised boys.

The other con of circumcision is the price that you will have to pay upfront at the time of service if your insurance will not cover the procedure. You will have to call your child's pediatrician to get an exact amount and what their payment policy is. On average I have found that the procedure costs around $300.00 and they recommend that it be done within the first two weeks of baby being born.

While there may not be any immediate medical complications of an uncircumcised newborn other than UTIs (urinary tract infections), most problems occur later and studies have shown that they are mainly primary problems of the uncircumcised male. Most conditions that uncircumcised males face end up resulting in needing a circumcision to rid themselves of their medical issues. Here are some complications that commonly arise.

Phimosis is a medical indication for circumcision. At birth, not all newborns have retractable foreskin because the tissue development is complete at birth. However, nearly all boys tissue development is complete by the age of 3. Phimosis is when the foreskin is still not retractable by this age. This condition is treated by circumcision or surgical enlargement of the ring of tissue causing the phimosis.

Paraphimosis is when the foreskin, once retracted, cannot return to its original location. This causes blood to pool in the veins behind the entrapment causing swelling. The swelling in turn leads to severe pain in the penis making it impossible to return to foreskin manually to its original location. Unless this condition is caught very early, the child will usually end up needing a doctor visit where they will be given a short-acting general anesthetic or heavy sedation for the treatment. For long term treatment of this condition, circumcision is suggested.

Studies have also shown that uncircumcised males have a much higher risk of getting and spreading STDs including the cancer causing HPV strains and HIV. This is because circumcision prevents the growth under the foreskin of the agents that cause sexually transmitted diseases. While most of these complications of being uncircumcised arise later rather than in infancy, keep in mind that circumcision for your son past the newborn period is considerably more complicated. Speak with your pediatrician about what your options are as well as any other pros and cons you should take into consideration.