The Realities of Circumcision

Before getting into the article I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to both my sons for the torture I, as an uninformed mother, allowed them to suffer through as an infant. I was following tradition that was handled down to my family though the generations? Actually, after doing some research, American born, black families did not follow this practice until we started obtaining medical help and advice from those who reside outside of our communities. When our children were born by midwives, the health of both the mother and the child was highly considered. Midwives did not impose their religious beliefs upon anyone while doing their duties. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case once others started taking care of our health.

I am about to become a grandmother for the first time  and of course I am excited. I’m very aware that there were things that I may not have done correctly with my sons due to ignorance. That ignorance does not have to be past down to another generation or repeated today. Today I  have a few things that  I didn’t have when I was a young wife and new mother. I have time, patience, wisdom and the internet. I am hoping I can help spare my future grandsons from unnecessary pain. If my research can help other parents and grandparent that’s even better.

Want to support Bomb? Purchase an item on my grandchild’s baby registry here

What is Circumcision

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and then the foreskin is cut off. Topical or locally injected anesthesia is sometimes used to reduce pain and physiologic stress. For adults and children, general anesthesia is an option, and the procedure may be performed without a specialized circumcision device. The procedure is most often an elective surgery performed on babies and children, for religious or cultural reasons.

Why Are We Hurting Our Sons?

History of Circumcision?

Ancient Egyptian relief from Ankhmahor, Saqqara, Egypt  (2345–2182 BC), representing adult circumcision ceremony

Historically, male circumcision has been associated with  religious practice and ethnic identity. Circumcision was practiced among ancient Semitic peoples, including Egyptians and Jews, with the earliest records depicting the practice coming from Egyptian tomb work and wall paintings dating from around 2300 BC.

Truth be told, why do I care what someone did in the past? If these things do not benefit my life or the lives of my family what is the purpose? I truly don’t give a shit about the history of a practice that hasn’t benefited human kind as a whole. For those of you who do care about the religious history of circumcision click here.

Why Circumcision?

Right now in the United States, about 79% of men are circumcised — 88 percent of white men, 73% of black men, 42% of Mexican-American men, and 50% of other races and ethnicities, according to the Center for Disease Control. Men in the Northeast or Midwest are more likely to be circumcised than those living in the West.  Approximately 30% of males are estimated to be circumcised globally, of whom an estimated two thirds are Muslim. Other common determinants of male circumcision are ethnicity, perceived health  and sexual benefits, and the desire to conform to social norms.  There are lots of reasons why people choose the procedure for their kids or themselves. But no matter what your circumcision status, there are millions of men with uncircumcised penises, so don’t fret if you have one.

Benefits Of Circumcision

Studies have shown that circumcision lowers the risk of getting HIV. This is because the foreskin is not like the skin on other parts of your body. The foreskin has a type of cell called Langerhans cells, which are more likely to attach to HIV cells. Based on these findings, in 2007 the World Health Organization endorsed circumcision as a way to help stop the spread of HIV. Studies have also shown that circumcision reduces the spread of other diseases that are passed through sex.

Circumcised boys are less likely to have a urinary tract infection in their first 6 months. As they grow older, circumcised males are also less likely to get penile cancer. Still, this type of cancer is rare in the U.S. And uncircumcised males can prevent penile cancer with good hygiene and keeping the area under the foreskin clean.

Properly performed circumcision on newborns also prevents phimosis, paraphimosis and balanoposthitis – all problems with the foreskin.

Risks Of Circumcision

Some babies die of complications of circumcision. Deaths occur secondary to loss of blood or systemic infection from the circumcision wound. There is reason to believe that many deaths from circumcision are attributed to other causes. For example, if a baby were to die of meningitis that was contracted through the circumcision wound, the death may be attributed to meningitis while ignoring the fact that the baby would not have had meningitis if he had not been circumcised.

Jews have traditionally performed circumcision on the eighth day after birth for many thousands of years. The medical literature was still reporting numerous deaths from ritual circumcision in the early twentieth century. There must have been vast numbers of babies who died under those conditions through the centuries. Jewish law allows parents who have had three sons die from circumcision to leave the fourth son intact.

Loss After Circumcision?

The foreskin has lots of nerve endings that are removed during the procedure. This can lead to desensitization of the penis head, but circumcised guys don’t end up with less pleasure overall. “Many men say that sex after circumcision isn’t necessarily better or worse—it’s just different,” says Dr. Eisenberg. So, don’t think you’re missing out on a whole world of stimulation.

Decided Not To Circumcise

If you decide not to have your baby circumcised, you should wash his penis with soap and water with each bath. Also, be sure to teach him good hygiene and how to care for his penis as he grows older. Educate him on how to treat the foreskin by making sure to pull it back completely once it starts to be able to pull back (often around age 5). Explain how important it is to clean under the foreskin with soap and water often and to completely dry that area afterwards. Provide him with warning signs that he may be having issues that needs medical attention like swelling, pain, or if the foreskin is itchy and red.

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