The British Perspective...
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|Fri, 10-09-2009 - 1:24am|
These two excerpts are from a NHS male health website which I copied about two months ago. I cannot give the link because I didn't save it - I'm sorry. But it gives answers to British males (and probably many females) about circumcision, in a straightforward manner which exemplifies the way we view the subject. I have intentionally underlined some sections because they are relevant to our debate and the subjects we have discussed:
"Q. I would like to have my baby boy circumcised as I feel it would be "more hygienic"? Can you tell me the pros and cons?
A. Routine circumcision in boys is not recommended for medical reasons. Circumcision is fashionable in the U.S.A. but the incidence of complications, including death, outweigh the supposed advantages avoiding such problems as cancer of the penis. Cancer of the penis is virtually unknown in those who wash regularly. A circumcised penis is no exception.
Often in early childhood the foreskin will not retract over the glans. This is normal at birth and the foreskin will gradually be able to be retracted in the first five to eight years of childhood. There are very few medical indications for circumcision and the only real one is when there is great fibrosis of the foreskin which is exceedingly rare.
Balanitis (infection under the foreskin) is not an indication for circumcision. The main reason for circumcision in this country is on religious grounds rather than medical.
Reversal of circumcision
Q. I was circumcised as a baby but now I want to re-grow my foreskin. Is this possible?
A. You are not alone in wanting the circumcision reversed. Requests for foreskin reconstruction, as it is called, is not at all uncommon, especially in America where very many more babies are circumcised than in the UK. There are two main reasons for men to request foreskin reconstruction, one physical the other psychological. On the physical side, following circumcision the glans of the penis will become less sensitive and a man may want foreskin reconstruction to reverse this. Although increased sensitivity of the glans has been reported following foreskin reconstruction, I am not at all sure whether this occurs in all men who have this procedure. On the psychological front, some men who were circumcised when infants feel they were mutilated without their consent and develop a feelings of resentment and frustration. They feel their body is incomplete and that their penis may not be so attractive to a partner. They may become fixated on such feelings, which become intrusive on their daily life.
Foreskin reconstruction is possible. It is accomplished either by skin grafting undertaken by a plastic surgeon or by a process known as tissue expansion in which the skin covering the shaft of the penis is progressively stretched over the glans. Tissue expansion is a slow process, involving hanging small weights on the skin and takes between 2 and 4 years to accomplish.
The first step would be to discuss the problem with your doctor who may refer you, in the first instance, to a psychiatrist with a special interest in body image problems or to a urologist. Only in exceptional circumstances is foreskin reconstruction by plastic surgery available on the NHS."
Note the term 'fashionable', because that's all it is: sadly, an enduring fashion with little or no thought or understanding of its consequences for little boys in the US.
Note: not a mention of UTIs or STDs....
British boys so rarely suffer a UTI, it's a talking point among parents here, if it happens! Why are American boys so susceptible to urinary infection that the only way their doctors believe they can rid the infection is to circumcise them... as if circumcision would have any effect at all?
British boys cannot contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease - unless they are sexually abused. Are American boys immune from sexual abuse?? (A rhetorical question that needs no answer - but it makes my point.)
The very notion of male infant circumcision as a cure-all for perceived genital problems is an anathema in the UK. And the current media hype in the USA to have every boy circumcised because of a flawed experiment in a part Africa with ADULT males, beggars belief!
I have donated, financially, as much as I can afford to 'Intact America', which was formed by American parents in the wake of media pressure to turn the clock back to the dark age of Victorian myths. My heart, my hope and my optimism endure in the face of the AAP, et al.
A British perspective, but shared by every advanced nation in this world of ours... bar the USA.
"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant
"Almost any manmade phenomenon is explained by tradition, inertia - or both." Anon