Circumcising a child after birth is a common practice in many religions around the world. But, whether or not it is a healthy practice is a topic of heated discussion. While skeptics reject the practice on grounds that the risks are far greater than the benefits derived, supporters believe otherwise. Many even argue that strapping down a normal part of the body violates human rights. In India, the data regarding the popularity of the practice is unavailable due to the lack of studies conducted on the topic. But, weather or not the local medical fraternity supports the practice is the bigger question.
Circumcision: Healthy Or Unnecessary?
The advantages of having a circumcised penis have been highlighted by many studies. The most common ones include reduced risks of STDs and Urinary Tract Infections, prevention of Balanitis (inflammation of glands), protection against penile cancer and an ease of cleaning the penis. But those against the practice argue that these diseases are far less frequent in kids anyway, so why expose young ones to the risks of injury and pain that comes along with it?
Dr. Sandip Sinha, former professor at the Zakir Husain Medical College and a practicing Pediatric Surgeon at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, New Delhi says, “The fact that circumcised children have decreased incidents of Urinary Tract Infections is well established in the medical sciences. The chances of malignancy in the procedure when conducted by a specialist are also very low.” India does have a high population of circumcised individuals, yet most of these procedures are not done by medical professionals. They are conducted either by family members or religious practitioners who do not follow the antiseptics and prescribed methods of the surgery. Thus, the chances of complications are far greater.
Pros Vs Cons
Dr. Sinha also says that there is a huge population of uncircumcised individuals in the world who haven’t been diagnosed with any urinary tract infections or STDs. But in children with certain anomalies like swelling in the kidney, hydronephrosis in the kidney or Posterior Urethral Valves circumcision certainly decrease the risk of contracting UTIs. Thus, even though most children are circumcised in early infancy, it would be fit to wait until after identifying them with such anomalies.
More Pain Than Gain?
Circumcision in kids is less hassling than adults. Even though the complications, which include Balanitis, pain and increased risk of bleeding and meatitis, do not vary much, adults are more prone to regular irritation of the glands when the penis comes in contact with their undergarments and clothes. Dr. Sinha advises adults undergoing a circumcision surgery to do so under the guidance of a practiced professional and use antibiotic ointments during the healing process which takes seven to ten days.
Weather or not circumcision is worth the risks it exposes your penis to is yet unclear but it is certainly a beneficial health practice. And even though its overall popularity is decreasing, many individuals are now voluntarily opting for it. Does that say much? We leave that to you.