Understanding circumcision: Benefits, risks and what to expect…
Making big choices for your little one is a major part of the parenting process, and it starts from the moment you fall pregnant. Reaching decisions over their health and wellbeing requires a lot of research, support and advice. This is especially true when it comes to circumcision for your boy. Many people juggle with this choice based on misconceptions or advice from other friends and family members. Here are some things you need to consider when the time to make this choice comes.
What is circumcision?
If you hadn’t heard of it before, this is an operation for your little boy that will remove the foreskin from their penis. The foreskin is the protective sleeve that covers the end of the penis. Choosing to do this surgery would happen the first few days after birth or up to 6 months later. However, your child can choose to get circumcised anytime they are able to make that decision.
Why would you get your boy circumcised?
Circumcision is common for societal, familial, or religious reasons. However, under 20% of men in Australia are circumcised so it is not nearly as common here as it is around the world. There are a few reasons why parents choose to not have their sons circumcised.
Short-term medical problems after the surgery – there can sometimes be bleeding or other concerns afterward
Possible issues with urination
Might lead to appearance problems – the cut could be too short or too long, leading to insecurity
Potential decrease in sexual sensation as your son gets older
Allowing your son to make the decision for himself
Avoid surgery that isn’t necessary for medical purposes
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Considerations for circumcision
Lowers the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections)
Possibly decreases the risk of STIs – although this is not proven
Make hygiene easier and simpler – uncircumcised boys just require a bit more time and attention to the area
Takes away risk of infections under the foreskin
Helps to protect them from the very rare case of penile cancer
It’s important to keep in mind that circumcision is not performed in Australian public hospitals. Along with that, most health officials conclude that the risks of infection and bleeding after the procedure can happen.
Overall, electing a circumcision for non-medical reasons is somewhat discouraged by doctors, but it’s entirely up to the parent. It is usually only recommended by doctors to treat problems including pathological phimosis, recurrent balanitis or recurrent UTIs. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons and consult a doctor that you feel confident.
Circumcision is a very personal choice, and ultimately, this is just one of many decisions you will be making in the years to come.
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