Circumcision (Updated 14/11/15)

Introduction

Circumcision is purported to have numerous medical benefits, however the research does not support this claim. Circumcision does not greatly reduce the chance of penile cancer, STIs, STDs, or HIV. Circumcision also reduces healthy genital tissue against the will of the child – a human rights violation.

Many are told that circumcision is not painful, or that babies do not cry during the procedure. If they didn’t cry, it’s because they went into shock. After screaming in pain, choking, and hyperventilating, they were in so much pain that they did the only thing they could: they went into shock. Shock is the brain’s last resort when under extreme amounts of pain and distress. Not only that but the pain of circumcision causes lasting trauma that changes how a child behaves later in life – permanently altering the brain.
Circumcision is not just “a little snip”, it is extraordinarily painful and often done without numbing medication, or anesthesia.

It should be noted, and the idea reinforced, that someone reporting the facts of the harm of circumcision does not mean that someone who is circumcised should be ashamed of their penis, or feel that they are less of a man because of it.
In all likelihood, someone who is circumcised had no say in the matter. They were forced into the procedure at a young age against their will.
Someone saying that circumcision violates human rights, that it does harm, or that it has no benefit is not saying that there is something wrong with you for being circumcised. Only that it should not continue happening to protect future boys and their rights.

Hopefully everyone is happy with what they have, and if someone is happy with their penis – circumcised or not – that is always the best one can hope for, but due to circumcision this is not true for everyone, and many face complications or negative, lifelong, emotions and trauma due to it.

Likewise, just because someone is happy with their penis if it circumcised does not make the procedure on infants okay, or give it validity. For every man who is happy with their penis and has a good sex life, there are many more men who have skin bridges, injuries due to the procedure, painful erections, erectile dysfunction later in life, or are unhappy with their penis and wish they had never been forced to undergo a procedure that permanently changed them.

This is true for female genital mutilation as well. Many women are happy with their vulva, even after a complete removal of labia minora and clitoris. This is not a bad thing, to be happy with what you have, but it does not justify the mutilation occurring or make it any less of a dreadful thing to do. Just because some are okay with the outcome, does not legitimize the taking away of the right to genital integrity.

Many men I have personally spoken to expressed regret, resent towards their parents, anger, frustration, and more because they did not have a say in something that would effect their lives, and their sex lives. On a wider scale, men who’ve been interviewed about their circumcision show signs of PTSD, and depression over the event.
This alone, paired with the lack of medical benefit, should be enough to show that mutilating an infant’s penis should not be tolerated.

Research and Issues with Existing Beliefs

Male circumcision and penile cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis
“In two studies, the protective effect of childhood/adolescent circumcision on invasive cancer no longer persisted when analyses were restricted to boys with no history of phimosis.”

In other words, preventing phimosis (which can be done via good hygiene and proper uptake of the penis) is a much bigger factor in preventing penile cancer than circumcision is. The correlation between circumcision and lower risk of penile cancer disappeared when previous history of phimosis was taken out of the equation.

Sub-Saharan African randomised clinical trials into male circumcision and HIV transmission: Methodological, ethical and legal concerns
This paper goes over the numerous problems with the studies most often cited to “prove” that circumcision reduces rates of HIV, including the fact that one study was stopped because it began to show that there was a 61% increase in HIV of circumcised men in the study. This is also coupled with lead time bias (the circumcised men did not have sex for two months while their wounds healed compared to the uncircumcised men who did not wait two months to resume sexual activity), early stopping in all three studies (amplifying lead time bias and other issues), and many, many other issues.

Male Circumcision and the HIV/AIDS Myth
“So the males in the study that underwent circumcision were not only told to abstain from sex for a significant time period after the operation — reducing their exposure time by six weeks compared to the uncircumcised (control) group — but told to use condoms, taught how to use them, and educated about their benefits. During this six week period, the men in the uncircumcised group did not have the same restrictions.”

Circumcision and HIV
Large post debunking many claims about circumcision and HIV, well sourced.

U.S. Navy Finds That Circumcision Does Not Prevent HIV or STIs

Study: Circumcision Removes Most Sensitive Parts
“For circumcised penises, the most sensitive region was the circumcision scar on the underside of the penis, the researchers found. For uncircumcised penises, the areas most receptive to pressure were five regions normally removed during circumcision—all of which were more sensitive than the most sensitive part of the circumcised penis. ”

Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark
“Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment. Thorough examination of these matters in areas where male circumcision is more common is warranted. ”

Male Circumcision: Pain, Trauma and Psychosexual Sequelae
“The body of empirical evidence reviewed here suggests that there is severe pain at the time of circumcision and shortly thereafter in unanaesthetised boys, as well as heightened pain sensitivity for some considerable period of time afterwards. Evidence has also started to accumulate that male circumcision may result in lifelong physical, sexual, and sometimes psychological harm as well.”

How to Identify Circumcision Damage in the Adult Male

Circumcision of male infants as a human rights violation
As posted in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

The Circular Cut : Problematizing the Longevity of Civilization’s Most Aggressively Defended Amputation

LOST BOYS: AN ESTIMATE OF U.S. CIRCUMCISION-RELATED INFANT DEATHS
” This study finds that approximately 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) occur annually in the United States, about 1.3% of male neonatal deaths from all causes. ”

This is especially important to keep in mind considering that the risk of penile cancer is 1 in 100,000.

How the circumcision solution in Africa will increase HIV infections
“Based on our analysis it is concluded that the circumcision solution is a wasteful distraction that takes resources away from more effective, less expensive, less invasive alternatives. By diverting attention away from more effective interventions, circumcision programs will likely increase the number of HIV infections.”

Sub-Saharan African randomised clinical trials into male circumcision and HIV transmission: methodological, ethical and legal concerns.
“Why did men in the male circumcision groups receive additional counselling on safe sex practices? While the absolute reduction in HIV transmission associated with male circumcision across the three female-to-male trials was only about 1.3%, relative reduction was reported as 60%, but, after correction for lead-time bias, averaged 49%. In the Kenyan trial, male circumcision appears to have been associated with four new incident infections. In the Ugandan male-to-female trial, there appears to have been a 61% relative increase in HIV infection among female partners of HIV-positive circumcised men”

Circumcision and risk of sexually transmitted infections in a birth cohort.
“CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with recent population-based cross-sectional studies in developed countries, which found that early childhood circumcision does not markedly reduce the risk of the common STIs in the general population in such countries.”

Out of step: fatal flaws in the latest AAP policy report on neonatal circumcision
“The policy statement and technical report suffer from several troubling deficiencies, ultimately undermining their credibility. These deficiencies include the exclusion of important topics and discussions, an incomplete and apparently partisan excursion through the medical literature, improper analysis of the available information, poorly documented and often inaccurate presentation of relevant findings, and conclusions that are not supported by the evidence given.”

Sexually transmitted infections and male circumcision: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
“Consequently, the prevention of sexually transmitted infections cannot rationally be interpreted as a benefit of circumcision, and any policy of circumcision for the general population to prevent sexually transmitted infections is not supported by the evidence in the medical literature.”

Circumcision in HIV-infected men and its effect on HIV transmission to female partners in Rakai, Uganda
“Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months; longer-term effects could not be assessed.”

Risk Factors Associated with Prevalent HIV-1 Infection among Pregnant Women in Rwanda
“Women who had used oral contraceptives, smoked more than one cigarette per day, whose partners were circumcised, and had had sex to support themeselves were also at higher risk of being infected.”
(emphasis mine)

Male circumcision may not make much difference to overall male HIV incidence in Caribbean context
“A cross-sectional study of men attending a large HIV/STI clinic in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has found that, without adjusting for other factors, self-reported HIV and STI prevalence was actually higher in circumcised than in uncircumcised men. ”

Articles

International physicians protest against American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on infant male circumcision
“Circumcision conflicts with children’s rights and doctors’ oath and can have serious long-term consequences, state an international group of 38 physicians from 16 European countries in Pediatrics today.”

Circumcision: Do risks outweigh benefits?

Circumcision of young boys is not a right
“Religious practices deserve the most profound respect — but not when they result in irreversible harm to children.”

10 Reasons NOT to Circumcise Your Baby Boy
“Circumcision is a painful, risky, unethical surgery that deprives over a million boys each year of healthy, functional tissue, while wasting health care dollars that could be spent on medically necessary services.”

The case against circumcision
From, “Doctors against circumcision”.

Infant male circumcision is genital mutilation
“Men should have the right to choose circumcision, not have the choice forced upon them. Infant circumcision without consent or immediate medical justification is an unjustified violation of basic human rights, that shares more in common with ancient coming-of-age rituals than responsible medical practice ”

Proof: The cut is mutilation
“A new study in the British Journal of Urology International shows that men with normal, intact penises enjoy more sexual sensitivity — as much as four times more — than those who have been circumcised. Circumcising slices off more of a male’s sensitivity than is normally present in all ten fingertips.”

Pain of circumcision and pain control
“Behavioral changes. Taddio et al reported in 1997 that baby boys who are circumcised with inadequate anesthesia exhibit behavior changes at six months of age that are suggestive of “an infant analogue of post traumatic stress disorder.””

Circumcision Permanently Alters the Brain

Circumcision’s Psychological Damage
“Studies of men who were circumcised in infancy have found that some men experienced symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anger, and intimacy problems that were directly associated with feelings about their circumcision (Boyle, 2002; Goldman, 1999; Hammond, 1999).”

10 Common Myths About Circumcision

Genital Integrity – Circumcision
“Male genital mutilation (MGM), or “circumcision,” is gynecologically equivalent to removing a girl’s clitoral foreskin, the most common form of female genital mutilation (FGM).”

Resources for Those in Need

Foregen

Foregen’s tasks are:

  • To experiment with animal tissue to obtain a viable method of foreskin regeneration
  • To apply what we have learned from our animal experiments to regenerate human foreskins
  • To advance onto clinical trials once Foregen proves that regenerating human foreskin is possible

Foreskin restoration

Beginner’s Guide to Foreskin Restoration

I’m Not Missing Anything by Being Circumcised; Why Should I Restore?
While it is entirely up to the individual as to whether they want to undergo foreskin restoration, this lists reason why one may want to restore the foreskin.

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Circumcision (Updated 14/11/15)

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