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We know: All about Circumcision

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce of the foreskin, the skin that covers the tip of the penis. The procedure is normally done within the first day or two of birth. Circumcisions performed more than two months after birth or on boys and men become more complicated and risky.

How do I decide whether to circumcise my baby?

You should talk to your doctor about circumcising your baby. Making the decision may be difficult. There are benefits to both circumcising and not circumcising the penis. You may also have religious, cultural or personal preferences that affect your decision.

What are the benefits to circumcising?

Studies conducted about circumcision have produced varying outcomes. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that due to the lack of significant results, they cannot recommend circumcision as a necessary medical procedure.

Circumcision does help to prevent penile cancer in adults. It may also help to prevent STDs, though this has more to do with a man's personal sexual practices (i.e. safe sex). In addition, circumcision has been shown to help prevent urinary tract infections in infants.

Study results do not clearly show whether circumcision helps to prevent certain penis problems and whether it lowers the risks of cervical cancer in female partners.

What are the risks of a circumcising a penis?

Circumcision carries the same risks as any surgical procedure. However, problems associated with the procedure are low. The most common problem associated with circumcision is bleeding and infection in the area just after the surgery is performed. Vaseline is often applied to the irritated area and normally the irritation shows improvement after a few days.

How do I care for my son after he's been circumcised?

Gently clean the circumcised area with water every day and when the diaper soils the area. Normally there will be some swelling of the penis after the surgery. A clear crust will normally form over the area. The penis will usually take 7 to 10 days to heal properly after the circumcision. If you have any concerns call your doctor.

If you son shows any of the following signs phone a doctor:

  • If the wound left from the circumcision does not stop bleeding
  • If your son does not wet a diaper 6 to 8 hours after the operation
  • If the swelling and redness around the tip of the penis does not go down or gets worse after 3 to 5 days
  • If there is a yellow discharge or coating around the tip of the penis after 7 days

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