Should my baby boy get circumcised?
As a mom, you have probably heard about circumcision especially if you have a baby boy. Well, circumcision can be defined as the removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis.
The functions of the foreskin include:
- Protecting the head of the penis
- Contributing to sexual sensations
The opinions about circumcision are quite varied. Due to its benefits, some doctors advocate for it. On the other hand, some doctors view the benefits as too small to warrant the operation. In many cases, circumcising baby boys is fuelled by family, religious or cultural reasons.
Circumcision has been around for many years. In the 50s, it became quite popular and routine practice. The percentage of baby boys being circumcised is increasing but at a slower rate than before.
The decision to circumcise your baby boy is an important one. You must first consider the possible risks and benefits before you choose a course of action. Since your baby boy is unable to make the decision for himself, it is necessary that you give much thought to what you want to do. The repercussions will follow the baby even when they grow older.
The medical reasons for circumcision
Medical research has shown that circumcision has a number of benefits. They include:
- Lowering risks of urinary tract infections
Circumcision has been shown to lower the risk of baby boys contracting a urinary tract infection in their first years of life. Fortunately or unfortunately, UTI only affects 1% of baby boys. So the statistics show that in every 1000 circumcisions, only one UTI is prevented.
- Lower risks of foreskin infections
Circumcised baby boys are unlikely to get infections under their foreskin. This is good since foreskin infection can bring about complications in the genital area which is a sensitive part of your baby’s body.
- It is easier for better hygiene
One of the significant benefits of circumcision that may actually influence parents to circumcise their baby boys is that the procedure makes it easier for better hygiene. Not that uncircumcised boys cannot maintain genital hygiene. But circumcision makes it easier for you to ensure your baby boy’s genitalia hygiene.
- Reducing the chances of cancer of the penis
While it is quite rare to find boys with cancer of the penis, circumcision has been shown to lower the risks of getting it. By maintaining good hygiene, the chances of penile cancer are reduced. However, more than 10,000 circumcisions are needed in order to prevent one case of penile cancer.
- Lowers the risk of sexually transmitted diseases
Circumcision lowers the probability of men contracting STIs and STDs unlike in men who are not circumcised. This does not rule out the importance of having safe sex practices.
Reservations about circumcision
If you are reserved about circumcision, then you are not the first mom to be. Some reasons as to why parents are reserved about circumcision are because:
- The fear that even the slightest surgery that is not essential may still carry some risk of complication.
- Concerns that circumcision may reduce the sensitivity of the tip of the penis thus reducing the sexual pleasure for both partners in the future.
- The fear of the pain that comes with the procedure and even afterward.
The circumcision procedure
There are different methods through which circumcision is carried out. The procedure usually involves the use of local or general anesthesia. It can be performed in the first few days after birth where a local anesthetic is used or it can be performed six months after birth where a general anesthetic is used.
Usually, the methods used are:
- The plastibell procedure where the area is numbed with a local anesthetic cream or injection. A bell-shaped instrument is then placed under the foreskin to separate it from the penis. A pair of scissors or a scalpel is then used to remove the foreskin.
- A formal surgical procedure which involves using dissolving sutures or tissue glue.
Regardless of what method you choose, ensure that the procedure is performed by a competent and experienced doctor. Don’t take chances with your baby’s life.
What to expect after circumcision
After circumcision, expect there to be some discomfort and swelling around the penis. There may also be a small patch of blood in the baby’s diaper. The blood loss is quite minimal. If it is excessive, then you may have to see your doctor. In order to monitor proper recovery, you will get detailed instructions from your doctor.
What complications could arise after circumcision?
Like every other surgical procedure, complications could arise after circumcision. Fortunately, these complications are rare. They are:
- Excessive bleeding
- Infection at the penis area
- Cutting the foreskin either too short or too long
- Since the foreskin protects the head of the penis, there can be some irritation to the head of the penis
- Narrowing the tube that allows urine to exit the body, also known as the meatus
- Reduced sensitivity which may affect sexual pleasure or lead to painful sex when the baby is all grown up
Taking care of your baby after the circumcision
So, if you have decided to circumcise your baby boy, follow these directions when taking care of them afterward:
- Comfort and cuddle your baby a lot of times
- Apply natural almond oil on a new gauze dressing for each nappy change. It helps to reduce the risk of urine irritating the wound.
- Keep the area as clean as possible with a daily bath
When to get medical attention
If you notice any of these signs, then it is imperative that you see a doctor:
- Continuous bleeding
- Blue/black discoloration of the penis
- Inability to produce a wet diaper between six to eight hours after the circumcision
- Ongoing pain
- Redness/swelling of the penis 3-5 days after circumcision
- Yellowish discharge from the penis
- If a plastic bell was used and it does not fall off after 10-12 days
There are benefits in circumcising your baby boy. The complications are also there but they rarely occur. It is up to you to decide what is best for your baby.