from the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C.
We had protesters today here at the AAP meeting. Three of them. They were urging pediatricians not to perform circumcisions, likening the procedure to torture. Given my gender (that’s Ms. Wachter, thank you very much) and my lack of male offspring, it’s not a subject that I had ever given much thought.
So I did a little research. Both AAP and the American Academy of Family Physicians seem to take the path of least resistance: the potential health benefits of circumcision–reduced rates of STDs and urinary tract infections, prevention of certain penile problems, and reduced risk of penile cancer–are not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision. Instead, parents should make this decision in light of available information and cultural/religious considerations.
Opponents of circumcision argue that the procedure inflicts unnecessary pain on newborn boys and may result in surgical complications. And then there’s the sexual pleasure argument. Purportedly, uncircumcised men enjoy greater sexual sensation than their clipped comrades. At a purely scientific level, a more definitive answer would require studying men who have experienced both conditions. A quick search on PubMed confirmed my suspicion that this sample size is fairly small. But I defer to the medical professionals–yea or nay on circumcision?
—Kerri Wachter, @knwachter on Twitter