Benefits of Male Circumcision
Under certain circumstances, dirt, sand, lint and other irritants can collect under the foreskin and cause inflammation and infection. Male circumcision helps to prevent this type of irritation and makes it easier to clean the head of the penis.
Decreased risk of urinary tract infections
Circumcision decreases the risk of urinary tract infections in males, both infants and adults. Uncircumcised infants have a 1% chance of acquiring a urinary tract infection. This type of infection is 10 times less common in circumcised infants, for whom there is only a 0.1% chance of developing a urinary tract infection
Decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases
There is evidence to suggest that circumcision helps protect against contracting and spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Prevention of cancer of the penis
Cancer of the penis is extremely rare but occurs much more commonly in men who are uncircumcised than in those who are circumcised.
Prevention of cervical cancer in female partner
Cervical cancer is less common in women whose sexual partner is circumcised, especially if the partner is circumcised early in life.
Prevention of paraphimosis
An extremely rare condition that occurs when the foreskin becomes retracted or pulled down below the tip of the penis and becomes stuck. The tissue can become swollen and can decrease the blood flow to the tip of the penis, requiring urgent surgery to correct the problem. Circumcision prevents this complication from occurring.
Risks of Male Circumcision
There is currently inadequate evidence to recommend routine circumcision of all infants in Australia. As a result, the choice whether to circumcise or not is personal. Each individual/family is free to make their own informed decision based on research, beliefs, and discussions with a health care provider. Below is an excerpt from the Academy of Pediatrics' Circumcision Policy Statement issued in September 2012 that might help families make an informed decision:
Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it. Specific benefits identified included prevention of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed this statement.