The Circumcision Discussion

Specialties Ob/Gyn


I know this can be a HUGE debate, and I'm not looking to start any arguments. I was just wondering as you are OB nurses. I'm expecting a boy in July and not sure if we should circ. or not. My husband says yes, it's better medically in the long run. My gpa who just turned 70 had to have a circ. due to endless complications lately.

As nurses in this area, is the medication that they use good? And what are some questions to ask my Dr. about it. I already know that my hospital i'll be at uses a med. when they perform it, I"m just wondering what you all think.


Jen :)

sanakruz, ADN

735 Posts

Well i'm not an ob nurse, but when I was a student no anesthesia was used on these poor infants. i do not believe that is the case but maybe a nursery nurse can answer this. It has been "discovered " that neonates do indeed feel pain and pain is now considered the fifth vital sign.

As the mother of 2 sons I based my decision not to circumsize them on several solid reasons.(IMO). The foremost reason: It's not my body and I will not choose to cut a piece off! Simplistic perhaps but my oldest is now 20 and sexually active. There are indeed nerve endings in the foreskin that give pleasure as well as pain.I doubt he would CHOOSE to be circumsized now. Old age will bring surprises,but it will be his CHOICE.

My youngest is 9 and cares not.


346 Posts

It's a cultural thing. The infant has no memory of the pain.

Dr. Phil did a good segment on that on his TV show one time...a big discussion between parents (dad wanted the child to have it, Mom felt guilty, thought the child would blame her or something.) Common sense rules. It's been done for literally thousands of years and still is, not only by physicians, but also by religious leaders. If you choose not to circumsize, the child will have to be taught extra strict hygiene.

sanakruz, ADN

735 Posts

Because we assume the patient has no memory,should we inflict the pain anyway?

It is only routinely done for "medical " reasons in the USA

The foreskin can not be retracted until puberty, so the extra hygiene is basically the same hygiene a little girl needs to know to clean the folds of her labia.

It is indeed funny to liken an uncircumsized penis to a sharpei; I however found this to be a serious decsion to make and did not want to be influenced by popculture. An erect penis looks like ,well, an erect penis whether it is circumsized or not

Sarah, RNBScN

477 Posts

I'd like to know what the medical reasons are?

It is a decision you and your husband have to make together.

Educate yourself, check sites, ask alot of questions.

Best of luck.

Medical reasons can be, an increase in UTIs, Yeast infection, increase in penile cancer. All small percetages. My Grandfather also had to have his removed when he was older.

I know the do use an anesthetic, can't think of it to save my life right now.

Read up, think about it. Do what you feel is right. Good luck!


132 Posts

Specializes in Women's Services, Dialysis.

When I was pregnant, I brought this subject up with family members. My dad stated that he was NOT circumcised. His mother told him to wash it as well as any other part of his body. PERIOD. To my knowledge, he has never had a problem.

An afterthought.....we cringe at the thought of episiotomy and vaginal circumsicion....what's the difference?


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

There are no medical reasons for circumcision that good hygiene do not take care of really. But, There ARE reasons the foreskin exists, among them being for sexual stimulation/pleasure and even natural hygienic protective functioning. I came across a good link that listed the reasons why the penis has a foreskin, spelling out several (I think 15-20) specific but little-known functions. I will have to go search for it....I was totally unaware as to what we were taking away when choosing to remove the foreskin of a boy's penis. (my son was circ'd 11 years ago, not so sure I would do it now, in light of what I have learned).

You COULD ask a urologist or pediatrician ----really, ask a few to see the information or varying opinons you hear. THEN decide.

Anyhow, I don't wish to debate anyone on this PERSONAL decision---just stating facts. It's up to you, personally, what you wish to do and can live with. I wish you a healthy delivery and baby, whatever you do decide. Best of luck to you!


43 Posts

I have three sons and all three are circumsized. I have a couple of family members that are not and 2 out of three have had problems and the one that didn't have medical problems says he was teased at school when they had to take showers after gym and football practice so we decided to circumsize. The doctor used a local anestetic (sp?) and imho I think it's the safest way. I also know of 2 men that had to get it done later in life and said it was very painful. I heard the older you get the more painful it is!


583 Posts

Whether or not to circ is a decision you must make after you have done your research.

If you decide to circ this is what will happen.

The little guy is strapped to a circ board, legs straight out and arm at appx. 60 degree angle along his sides. He is very unhappy, stretched out, and in the bright lights. He is crying as loud as he can. After a few minutes he will quite down.

The doc will then come in and use hemostats to grap the foreskin and open it up. He will then use a blunt probe and ensure there are no adhesions of the fore skinto the glans. Then once he is happy with that he will take a pair of hemostats and clamp them onto the foreskin from the end to the glans. Those will stay on for 5 minutes or so. When released that is where the initial incision will be made, which is bloodless because of the area being clamped. Than a gomco clamp and plastibell will be used to finish the procedure. The plastic bell is left on and should fall off in about ten days. Afterwards there is some bleeding and you must watch for signs of infection.

When I worked in the nursery we had 3-4 different docs that would do the circs. A couple of them used no numbing agents and the guy screamed during the procedure. Another had us put EMLA on the guy and cover with an occlusive dressing for aout 30 min prior to the procedure. These guys would scream almost as much as the non-numbed ones, so it may have been more to make the doc feel good than the baby. And one doc did a lidocaine block at the base of the penis, just like a digital block. The guys would scream during the injection, but normally slept through the procedure.

From watching this numerous time I know there is pain. I have never talked to anyone that remembers their circ, but is that any reason to subject a 1 day old to it anyhow? I don't believe so. I feel every baby should be numbed prior to the procedure.

If you do decide to have him circ'ed, talk to the doc about pain control during the procedure. If he blows you off, talk to the nursery staff and see if any of the other docs use pain control and try to get one of them to do the circ.

I hope this helps you a little bit more in making an informed decision about circumcision. Most parents don't even think about it untill the morning of the procedure, and then have it done because of a "all the boys have it done" attitude.


Liddle Noodnik

1 Article; 3,789 Posts

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..
Originally posted by jmspeach

re: circumcision

I think personally it's better that you wait to be circumcised til after the baby is born.

sanakruz, ADN

735 Posts

especially to be sure its a BOY

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