Ask a Beaumont Doctor: What Are the Pros and Cons of Circumcision?
Dr. Marlene Roth, a Beaumont pediatrician, answers questions about a decision parents make for their sons.
Few Patch blogs have generated more comments than guest blogger Jenn D'Jamoos' post on circumcision. "The Circumcision Decision" to date has generated more than 100 comments.
The sometimes volatile discussion has raised a lot of questions regarding the choice to circumcise baby boys, so Patch asked Marlene Roth, a Beaumont Health System pediatrician, about the decision parents make for their sons.
Patch: What are the pros/cons of circumcision?
Roth: The pros and cons of circumcision continue to be debated without a definite conclusion. Studies from various countries have shown a decreased incidence of infection, including sexually transmitted diseases, a decreased incidence of penile cancer – a very rare cancer – but none of these studies are considered significant enough for the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue a policy regarding circumcision. Circumcised males have more visits to the pediatrician in their first year of life for issue related to penile problems, but after that uncircumcised males have a higher incidence of visits. The issue of decreased penile sensitivity in circumcised male is still a matter of debate.
Patch: Can a circumcision ever be reversed?
Patch: Do doctors ever advise for or against, or is it strictly a parent's choice?
Roth: It is purely the choice of the parents, but persuasion can go a long way.
Patch: Are there any trends compared to 10 years ago? Is the choice to circumcise happening more or less?
Roth: In the United States, the trend is toward fewer males being circumcised, especially in the last 10 years.
Patch: What is the percentage of male babies circumcised?
No accurate statistics exist and the ones we have vary greatly from country to country, but in the United States the rate is approximately 80 percent. The debate continues because the research remains inconclusive and so many variables exist.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not yet determined if male circumcision should be recommended for any population, ultimately leaving the decision to rest with individuals and parents. For more information, please see the CDC Fact Sheet on male circumcision.
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