Benefits of Male Circumcision

  • 1
    Cleanliness

    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.

  • 2
    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

  • 3
    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.

  • 4
    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.

  • 5
    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.

  • 6
    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

Lack of informed consent

A child cannot consent to the procedure. The decision must be made by the parents or guardian. The procedure is considered permanent and there is a risk that when the boy is older he will be unhappy he was circumcised as a child. Therefore, an adult must make the decision for the child.

Pain

This can be reduced and even eliminated with the use of safe and effective medications. Please discuss the use of pain medication with your health-care team.

Surgical complications

Complications during male circumcision are very rare, estimated to occur in 1 out of every 500 procedures. These complications, which can be severe, include poor cosmetic outcome, bleeding, infection, injury to the penis and the removal of too much or too little skin.

For an extensive, evidence-based appraisal of circumcision go to http://www.circinfo.net. It has a wealth of information on this topic. The website belongs to Professor Emeritus Brian J. Morris a world renowned expert on Circumcision.

In Summary

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.
​(Pediatrics 2012;130:585–586)