Circumcision Debate - page 5

Hi all. Our HealthGate topic of the week is a debate about circumcision. Is it a minor operation, (endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics) that improves cleanliness and that a baby doesn't... Read More

  1. by   fergus51
    That's interesting nar-s. Do you mind my asking where you are from? I think most people couldn't argue with letting adults be circumcised. Teens, I don't know. In any case, no one is stopped from being circed here. I do know an older teen (about 17) who got it done for religious reasons. It must hurt more at that age though doesn't it?

    I think I am squeamish about any type of pain!!
  2. by   Papa
    Why we didn't circ our son:

    1.) A shared belief betwixt the two of us that (barring overt and immediate health threats) the way we came out is the way we ought to be, i.e, we participate in a minimum of shaving, scenting, piercing, painting, tattooing, etc.

    2.) Informal doctor poll: Urologist: "There's no medical reason for it. There is of course a slight increased chance of balanitis but it is easily treated. And the circumcised penis is more aesthetically pleasing...(!!?!). But as a physician I can't strongly recommend it...but of course I circ'd my boys...(!!?!). OB/GYN: "There's no medical reason for it. We didn't circ our sons, and they haven't had any trouble (they go to public junior high/high school). In fact I think the may even be in the majority!"

    3.) Baby does not need to "look like Papa". I think we would quickly tire of glueing on the little tuft of pubic hair! Not to mention the dark hair that covers most of my body, especially my face. Are we to dye baby's blond hair to match Papa's? We are all different and we all change (some of Papa's hair is gray!).

    4.) This is going to sound very strange but it is true: My exposed glans is VERY sensitive to chafing when running/cycling etc. In winter it is not a problem (cold=everything retracts), but in the hot 6-month Texas summers there have been many times when I have wished for a nice covering of skin...

    5.) If our son really wants/needs to be circ'd later we will discuss it. If our daughter wants/needs breast augmentation or reduction we'll discuss that, too. Case by case, based on medical necessity and/or intensity of desire. I doubt if the prospect of pain will factor in very much. The foreskin itself is not particularly sensitive, we have pain medication, and besides kids seem to be able to weather purposeful piercings, tattoings, and of course accidental broken bones, road rash, etc. without too much lasting emotional trauma.

    It was not an "easy" decision--we thought about it a lot. But without an overriding, clear cut medical, cultural or religious rationale we decided against it. Time will tell...we may wish we had decided differently...but we tried to separate information from emotion and based our decision accordingly, as we always strive to do.

    Papa
  3. by   nurs4kids
    Jennifer,
    What do you want me to say?? You want me to agree with you? A BB is about debate, honey. Just as you have a right to post your opinion here, I have a right to post mine. Do you not feel that by saying 'parents who have their sons circ'd are teaching the child from day one that they will not protect them' you are offending anyone? I am a huge patient advocate and in pediatrics, that not only includes the patient but also the parents. I stand behind my original post that basically says you should not push your personal beliefs on patients, especially through guilt. They should be give scientific OBJECTIVE date, and nothing more. I'm sorry you feel so attacked. I can see we are getting no where with this, so I will quit responding to the "personal issues" and stick to the topic. I'm sure with all your accomplishments and experience you will make a wonderful nurse. Good luck!
  4. by   nar-S
    furgus51...i'm originally from the philippines and based from our culture and religion, cirring is a must. i'd assisted in performing a cirring procedure and it was treated as a minor surgery, with local anesthetic. the only pain they felt was the injection itself. it was the humiliation of getting cirred on a later age that gets our male patients embarassed :d.
  5. by   fergus51
    Thanks for the reply nar-S. I have never had to circ a man and never plan to!!! A little too much for me. I can't imagine getting it done at an older age like that. Man! I am glad I am a female
  6. by   jenniferj
    Nurs4Kids:
    Every reply you have made, including your last, has had a condescending tone, implying that I could not possibly be worth listening to, while your opinion must be correct.
    You have not quoted me correctly once.
    Your replies have shown over and over that you did not even correctly read what I wrote.

    SuzyK: You started it. It was also your opinion that I originally disagreed with. Fight your own battles, instead of playing the nasty little comments game.

    BrandyBSN: Thank you and I will try to take your advice to heart.

    RNed: Thank you for some excellent advice. You sound like a person who I could learn good things from. Tell your wife I envy her, even if she does think you are "special".

    I truly believe that ALL information about circumcision should be presented to parents in an unbiased way. What I was hearing was that if a person had a "pro" opinion, they were presenting information biased in that direction, with the opposite also being true. I know that there are cultural and religious reasons for everything, not just circumcision. But we are also thinking beings, able to make decisions based on new (and perhaps better) information. I still say that just because someone else does something does not mean that we have to do it. Billions of male children have not been circumcised, and yet gone on to live long, healthy, happy lives. With good hygiene, which they have been taught from a young age, I hope that my three boys will be among them.
  7. by   RNPD
    I personally am for circing, having seen firsthand in my practice what ravages are caused by infections,phimosis, & penile cancer. Older men often just don't have the dexterity, coordination, know-how, or intellectual ability to keep themselves scrupulously clean, leading to problems best avoided in the first place.

    jenniferj, I think you are confusing opinions with attack. Naturally, we respect your opinion that circumsicion is barbaric to you and you therefore chose not to have your sons circed. But to say " And maybe you think they won't ever remember the pain that was caused for them, but you are talking about trust vs. mistrust, and what a way to teach them from day 1 or 2 that mom will not protect them.", is an attack on the beliefs of others who disagree with your opinion. Would you like to hear that if one of your sons develops a penile disorder at the age of 40 requiring an unpleasant intervention, he will hate you as his mother forever because he was not circed? Of course not, that is an attack, not an opinion. When we are speaking professionally, our opinions must be colored by fact, any off the wall comments can not be taken seriously. And to say that a newborn will learn that his mom won't protect him because he is circed is off the wall. When your little ones got their heels stuck for PKU testing, did they think that mom let this happen and I will never forgive her? How about if your 2 y/o needs a T&A? Or your 10 y/o develops a hernia needing surgical intervention? Do you see what I am getting at? Your implication was that those of us who chose circs are bad parents, forever coloring our kids lives with vague feelings of fear that we will not protect them. I think that's what nurs4kids took exception to, as did I when I first read it.
  8. by   fergus51
    OK, you all, I finally found a reason I would consider circs to be beneficial. I was helping get a man washed up for bed on a rehab floor and found out that the nurse (idiot) who washed him in the morning didn't pull his foreskin back down. What kind of nurse graduates without knowing how to wash a man properly?
  9. by   RNSue
    Just two thoughts on this subject. #1-In the March issue of Nursing 2001 in the Clinical Rounds section, there is a small article about pain experienced in infancy(in rats, at least) and how researchers have found that pain inflicted soon after birth may permanently rewire the still developing nervous system and cause them to be hypersensitive to pain as adults. #2-I just finished reading a book called As Nature Made Him, the Boy Who was Raised as a Girl. Twin boys were scheduled to be circumsized at about age one due to tightness of the foreskin. The first one had the procedure and it was botched and lost most of his penis, the second baby's was cancelled. The first boy had an operation to change him into a "girl". This has been a common practice for years for kids born with ambiguous sex organs or damaged sex organs at an early age and only recently has been rethought. I don't have any kids, but if I did, my sons would not be circumsized. I very recently read somewhere that the Jewish leaders are taking a second look at this procedure.
  10. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by RNPD


    jenniferj, I think you are confusing opinions with attack. Naturally, we respect your opinion that circumsicion is barbaric to you and you therefore chose not to have your sons circed. But to say " And maybe you think they won't ever remember the pain that was caused for them, but you are talking about trust vs. mistrust, and what a way to teach them from day 1 or 2 that mom will not protect them.", is an attack on the beliefs of others who disagree with your opinion. Would you like to hear that if one of your sons develops a penile disorder at the age of 40 requiring an unpleasant intervention, he will hate you as his mother forever because he was not circed? Of course not, that is an attack, not an opinion. When we are speaking professionally, our opinions must be colored by fact, any off the wall comments can not be taken seriously. And to say that a newborn will learn that his mom won't protect him because he is circed is off the wall. When your little ones got their heels stuck for PKU testing, did they think that mom let this happen and I will never forgive her? How about if your 2 y/o needs a T&A? Or your 10 y/o develops a hernia needing surgical intervention? Do you see what I am getting at? Your implication was that those of us who chose circs are bad parents, forever coloring our kids lives with vague feelings of fear that we will not protect them. I think that's what nurs4kids took exception to, as did I when I first read it. [/B]
    Thank you, RNPD, that is exactly what I have said from the beginning. Perhaps with your wonderful examples, I too may be understood. Again, a very well articulated post!

    Jennifer,
    I never once quoted you correctly??? I cut and pasted from your post, honey
    Last edit by nurs4kids on Jul 28, '01
  11. by   levirn
    Wow what a passionate discussion. Well here's my 2 cents worth on circs.
    While working as a family medicine nurse in a busy 5 physician group that also did OB, I helped with lots of circs. From the beginning I was appalled at the strapping down and inflicting of pain on infants. None of the docs I worked with could give me a compelling medical reason for this procedure and I wondered why so many parents chose to have it done. I saw parents I knew were really struggling financially, scrape together the $150-$200 to pay for the procedure. The docs I worked with didn't recommend circumcision but neither did they discourage it. They used everything from emla to lidocaine locals and I was not impressed with the pain control of any one of these methods. Consequently, when I had my own son I chose to leave his foreskin intact. His dad is not circ'd but so far at age 5 he hasn't noticed this difference.
    My reasons:
    1. Not one of the doctors I worked with nor the OB, Urologist and Pediatricians I polled could give me any compelling medical rationale for the circ.
    2. I couldn't have handed over my days old infant to be strapped to that board.
    3. I figure the foreskin was God's standard equiptment for males and who am I to mess with that?
    As a nurse, I have always kept my PERSONAL opinion and choice to myself. No matter how much I disliked the procedure.
    However, when pressed by patients about what I chose for my son and why, I simply stated that the doctors I spoke with didn't give me any convincing reasons to have it done, but added that they should talk to THEIR doctor about it because it was a very personal decision.
    Judging from the heated debate here, this remains a very touchy subject and this reinforces my goal to be nonjudgemental and supportive of my patinent's choices even if I personally don't agree with them.
    Thanks all for your views.
    levi
  12. by   Russ Dowling
    Okay, everyone. For the record, I'm against circumcision. The remark regarding son's penises having to look like their father's makes no sense to me. Having read all the responses, I'm going to throw something else into the mix. Suppose a new parent wants their newborn baby girls labia minora cut off. Now what do you do? Is that any different than circumcising boys? I know all about the hygiene argument so it doesn't need to be repeated. What about the practice among some African tribes of circumcising girls by removing part or all of the clitoris? Is that mutilation? It's part of their initiation into adulthood.
  13. by   MarilynM
    Ouch..Mutilation? I don't believe that is an appropriate term, however, My eldest son turned 19 on Sunday and my other son is 17.5. I had them both Circ. That was long before I had even entertained thoughts of becoming a Nurse. In my heart I can only hope they used something like elma cream, but I'm not sure that was even available then. So, I will not worry about having them hate me for it. I would make the same choice today, but w/more questions and assertions prior to procedure. In my opinion, if my ptnr was ANY MORE SENSITIVE,...We wouldn't ever have relations...They have Viagra for impotence, but not a whole lot for PE!!!!!! (and I didn't mean pulmonary emboli)
    I have also seen some nasty infections one recently that appeared to be psuedomonas, and poor man's penis would get soooo swollen that I KNOW it had to be painful..Couldn't seem to get Dr. real concerned about it. He also had a Foley...One funny thing that was never passed on in transfer or on RN Assessment, I figured it out though...Man had had a penile implant, but noone ever bothered to mention it.. What a strange case. God Rest His Soul..........
    Last parting comment...When my youngest breast-fed son was gaining weight quite well, his little glans penis would slip back inside what appeared to be foreskin and I actually worried that procedure was done incorrectly...Upon queries to Dr. He assured me that it would all be fine, and in my ignorance I thought maybe it should be repeated.. That's when he said at this point we would have to do surgery under anesthesia and so would have to wait til 2 yrs. old. Thank-god, he was right, I didn't push, just maintained good hygienic practice, and as he grew, everything would up as it should. Baring any barbaric practices, I would prob still choose circ. today. Has nothing to do with what father looks like, just my belief that it is easier to maintain hygiene, and decrease disease processes and spread of infections STD's etc. But I could be wrong...That's what I like about being human. We can't and don't have to always be right, except in our practice, We'd better do our darndest to know what we're doing, or find someone who does.........Learning never stops,,,At least I hope not..

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Circumcision Debate