Circumcision is one of the world’s most widely-performed procedures by health workers. It is a religious or cultural ritual for many Jewish and Islamic families, as well as some tribes in Africa and other parts of the world.
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. The foreskin is opened and then separated from the glans after inspection. Circumcision is culled from the Latin word, circumcidere, meaning “to cut around”. It should be performed by a qualified health professional in a sanitary environment.
Newborn circumcision is often done in the hospital nursery, usually between seven and eight days after birth. Biblically, Leviticus 12:3 says, “On the eighth day, the flesh of (a male child’s) foreskin shall be circumcised.” This is also supported by medical science, which notes that there is more vitamin K and prothrombin present in the blood by the eighth day. This means less pain, less bleeding, and a better healing process. Therefore, it is not advisable to have routine newborn circumcision done before the baby is eight days old.
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Circumcision aids personal hygiene, as it makes it simpler to wash the penis. Although the risk of urinary tract infection in males is low, it is more common in uncircumcised males. Circumcision therefore prevents urinary tract infection. It also aids the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Circumcised men might have a lower risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Occasionally, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis).
Studies show that circumcision makes the achievement of orgasm more difficult, decreases its intensity and impedes sexual satisfaction among circumcised men and their female partners
Post circumcision care
The process of circumcision is painful. For newborn babies, the pain may interfere with mother-infant interaction. Consequently, physicians advocate the use of analgesics. Give paracetamol to the baby two times daily for two to three days.
In practice, localised or regional pain-blocking injections and topical analgesic creams are effective for pain. In this part of the world, we seldomly anesthetise newborns when circumcising them because of likely risk associated with anaesthesia!
For surgical circumcision, a light dressing such as gauze with petroleum jelly will have been placed over the head of the penis. The next time the baby urinates, this dressing usually will come off. Some pediatricians recommend keeping a clean dressing.
The Plastibell method
For the Plastibell method, which covers the raw area, the plastic ring will drop usually between three and five days but may take up to a week. When the plastic drops and the circumcision is healed, just bath the baby and the penis area normally. No oil or dressing is required. It is okay to wash the penis as it heals. Once the organ heals, wash it with soap and water during normal bathing.
Circumcision cannot be performed on males with the following conditions: Congenital abnormalities of the penis, including where the urethra opening is not on the penis tip (hypospadias or epispadias), and Chordee or the downward curvature of the penis. Also it is contraindicated in newborn babies with bleeding disorders.
The most common complications associated with circumcision are bleeding and infection. Circumcision may also result in foreskin problems, as the foreskin may be cut too short or too long. The foreskin may also fail to heal properly.
I hear parents says this to their babies after circumcision, “You are now a man.’’ This is not a true statement. On the contrary, the newborn becomes a man at puberty – not by circumcision. In conclusion, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks. However, the AAP does not recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns. In Nigeria it is a routine. I think that children who will be left out may have a complex, such as low self esteem, to deal with in the future.
Say no to female circumcision/female genital mutilation / female genital cutting. This procedure became illegal in the 1990s.
Kindly visit my blog: www.doctoradesanya.blogspot.com to follow the thread of an interactive discussion on newborn male circumcision.