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Circumcision

Parents considering circumcision learn about the procedure, risks and healing associated with it.

Circumcision

Circumcision is cutting away the skin ("foreskin") that covers the tip of a baby's penis. In recent years, newborn circumcision has been a hot topic of debate. Your choice of whether to circumcise your son may be a question of religion or custom (circumcision is part of Jewish and Muslim custom). In other cases, parents may simply want their son to look like his father or other male family member...

Circumcision

In recent years, newborn circumcision, or the removal of the skin that covers the tip of a baby’s penis, has been a hot topic of debate. Varying opinions and advice may leave many new parents with more questions than answers. For some people, the decision on whether to circumcise their sons may be a question of religious or cultural norms. For example, circumcision is customary according to ...

After Procedure

After circumcision, caring for the penis is simple but important. Wash the area gently with warm water. Pat dry and put on a new bandage with antibiotic ointment each time you change the diaper. It should take about a week to heal. It's normal for there to be a little swelling, redness and maybe blood at first. If these problems last several days or get worse, have your baby seen by his doctor. Al...

Procedure

Circumcision of a newborn is mostly a quick, safe procedure when done by a skilled doctor. To lessen pain for newborns, a pain killer may be used. There is some evidence that babies may be less likely to feel pain 7 to 10 days after birth. This is because newborns have a high level of endorphins (substances made by the body that reduce pain). A special clamp is attached to the penis and the foresk...

Benefits and Risks

In the U.S., the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) each have a policy statement on circumcision. Both groups recommend that it be offered as a choice to parents. The AUA believes that circumcising newborns has benefits and risks. The most recent policy statement of the AAP in 2012 indicated that, based on newer evidence, the benefits of a circumcisi...

Causes

Meatal stenosis is mostly linked with circumcision and is rarely seen in uncircumcised males. It’s likely that the newly exposed tip of the penis (including the meatus) suffers from a mild injury causing meatus to narrow (stenosis). Uric acid and ammonia crystals are the most common cause for the narrowing of the meatus. These crystals are found in the urine and can be left in the diaper bef...

More Information

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. Treat the foreskin gently and make sure not to pull it back with great force. Once it starts to be able to pull back (often around age 5), it is important to clean under the foreskin with soap and wat...

More Information

Is penile cancer contagious? Can I pass it on to others? Until recently, penile cancer was mostly thought to be caused by chemical irritation. For this reason, there was no worry about transmitting it. But recent data have linked the HPV to both penile and cervical cancers. There seem to be more cases of these cancers in the spouses of people with this sexually transmitted disease. Thus, while pen...

Causes

Penile tumors are thought to be caused by body fluids that get trapped in the foreskin. If they aren’t washed away on a routine basis, they can have cancer-causing effects. Older men and smokers are more likely to get penile cancer. Conditions like AIDS can lead to penile cancer. Another possible cause may be the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is a virus passed through sex. Antibodies to H...

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