Until my first son was born, I never really gave circumcision much thought. I knew about it from church, but not much more than that-it was just something people did. Fast forward many years (no, I am not going to say how many!) to when my wife was pregnant with our first son. By this time, I understood that circumcision was an optional procedure and I expected the medical staff to counsel us on the options: pros and cons. As the old proverb goes: “No plan survives first contact.” My son was born 5 weeks early and was extremely jaundiced (yellow-orange color!), he had to stay in the hospital NICU under the UV lights until it resolved and he was eating consistently on his own. Obviously during this time we had much more pressing concerns that circumcision, but I was still expecting the docs to speak to us about it.
I kept waiting for a doc to talk to be about circumcision, but no one ever did and in retrospect, that was a good thing. I started to do my own research about it and started learning things. Things that made me VERY skeptical of the medical community and their intentions. The kicker for me was stumbling on a YouTube video of a circumcision being performed. Kid strapped down to a papoose board and screaming. At about this time, the pediatricians figured out that my son was not cut yet, called my wife and pretty much demanded that they be allowed to do it. (I had to return to the clinic by this time.) So she calls me in a panic, “What do I do? They want to do it now!” I asked if they offered any guidance, you know, pros and cons, about cutting him. “No! He (the pediatrician) just told me if we want to have him cut we have to do it now!” As a medical person myself, I know that VERY few medical decisions need to be made that quickly and without talking to the patient about options. Usually that occurs for cases of life or limb (you don’t want the ER doctor consulting with you about the pros and cons of CPR!) and that urgency certainly does NOT apply to cosmetic procedures!
Right there I had made my decision, I told my wife to tell the pediatrician “no”, well, I probably was a lot more colorful than that. That night I showed her what I had found online about the procedure. She was rightfully horrified! After that, I started to do more research and try to tease out the history, methods, prevalence, complications, and benefits, of circumcision. (Yes, I am a scientist. My wife refers to me as “Sheldon”, but I still don’t know why.) By this time, I am pretty pissed that I was cut as a baby! To make matters worse, it was at this time I learned that my father was not circumcised! I confronted my mother about the matter and her defense was that “was what the doctors said to do!” Newsflash, even though they are doctors, they are still human and make mistakes. A hallmark of good doctor (or veterinarian) is that they will talk to you and lead you through the medical issue so that you understand what is going on. You should never be told to “just do it because I am the doctor.” If one tells you that-----“Run Away!”
Through research, I learned that there is very little evidence for the benefits of being circumcised and there are two very real downsides that occur 100% of the time: 1) you get changes to the skin of the glans (or head) of the penis, 2) your penis is smaller. I am not going to get into the pathology of these here, I’ll do it later. However, after learning about these downsides (again with the learning! Why are MD’s afraid of that?) I shifted the focus to foreskin regeneration (another topic deserving of its own paper). I am in the process of regenerating mine currently. I am already seeing physical benefits, as of today I have restored approximately 80% of the skin and penis size has increased by about 1 inch in circumference and about 0.75 inch in length. (There are two kinds of guys, those who have measured their penis and those that lie about it! Besides, I am a scientist and need hard data in order to evaluate the outcome!) Another notable benefit is sex. Once I hit about 50% coverage, I noticed that we stopped needing lubrication and my wife reported a more enjoyable experience!
So as I see it, the benefits of HAVING a foreskin far outweigh the slight, possible, maybe a little benefit.
I have rambled enough and should let you get back to your life (congratulations if you have read to here!) I do feel I should make one more fact know that gives validity to my viewpoint (as if having my own penis is not enough). I have eluded that I am a scientist, I am. I am also a clinician. I am a veterinarian, practicing medicine and surgery on all kinds of animals for the past 20 years. I know how to make risk assessments when it comes to disease control. I am also familiar with the methods of evaluation scientific papers and how to draw proper conclusions from them. Just because someone wrote it down, does not make it so.
On a final note, one of the last conversations I had with an MD (and I do have MD friends) regarding circumcision benefits was on the subject of penile cancers and preputial infections. My MD friend pointed out that circumcision reduces the risk of both. While factually, this might be true, you need to look at the big picture. Mainly, how often does the disease occur in intact people (or animals). So I pointed out that in twenty years of medicine, I have yet to see a penile tumor or infection, and of all the penises that I have seen, ALL have been intact! Actually, to perform a routine circumcision on a dog or cat or horse, etc, is considered malpractice in the veterinary world. It is a normal part of the body and serves a highly important function.