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WTF? "Half of all uncircumcised males will, over the course of their lifetime, develop some kind of medical issue related to their foreskin."

(904 Posts)
missingwelliesinsd Fri 04-Apr-14 21:11:03

Question as a Brit in the USA. I just read this news article on the never-ending debate (in the USA at least) of whether it's better to circumcise male babies. Some paper just issued by the Mayo Clinic concluded that the benefits out weigh the risks 100-1 and it would be unethical to not circumcise a male baby just it it would be if you don't get immunizations for your child. WTF?

I know that circumcising can help reduce STD transmissions - but hey, just use a condom! What I can't believe is that "50% of non-circumcised males have medical issues with their foreskins." That would make 50% of most of the male population of Europe having foreskin issues at some point. Can this be right? I tend to think it's just American prejudice against foreskins after decades of snipping. I'm TTC and if I do and we have a boy, no way am I snipping the poor thing.

Here's the article:

BillyBanter Fri 04-Apr-14 21:13:39

Half of people with legs have medical problems with their legs.

PolkaSpottyDotty Fri 04-Apr-14 21:14:06

I can quite believe it, it's just another body part after all. There are many problems that can affect a foreskin - not just the obvious infection, but it being tight, stuck in the retracted position etc.

But the article wouldn't have the same impact if it was about tonsils or such like, would it! smile

Liara Fri 04-Apr-14 21:15:10

I suppose if you make the definition of 'medical issues' wide enough you could make that figure work somehow.

But it's probably just bullshit.

KatAndKit Fri 04-Apr-14 21:17:24

The majority of people will develop some problem with their teeth during their life.nperhaps everyone should have them extracted age 12 as a preventative measure?

RhondaJean Fri 04-Apr-14 21:19:42

I can believe it. So many of th mothers of boys I know have had to have them stretched. One has had I stretched several times and is now going to have to have it snipped.

I've said before about my own DH and is issues which were adult onset and resulted in a circumcision in his 30s.

That's not counting the Sti issue and any other adults with issues which lets face it I'm not going to hear about over a cup of coffee like I do about the two and three year olds.

If I had a son I would without hesitation have it done when he was a tiny baby.

missingwelliesinsd Fri 04-Apr-14 21:20:45

I do wonder, I mean I never heard of my dad or brother having issues, or male friends for that matter. Of course, they likely wouldn't tell me if they had a foreskin issue, but still.
Most people in the US are still very pro-circumcision and treat new parents who don't wish to do this as irresponsible. I think it's madness myself but articles like this don't help.

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 04-Apr-14 21:24:11

I don't believe I know anybody who hasn't stubbed a toe once or twice.

ILoveTamsinGreig Fri 04-Apr-14 21:26:48

Balanitis affects uncircumcised men more. Similarly athletes foot mostly affects people who haven't had all their toes amputated.

TheScience Fri 04-Apr-14 21:29:45

Rhonda why do they have to have them stretched? I've never heard of anyone doing this.

allalongthewatchtower Fri 04-Apr-14 21:30:45

I'd describe having a missing foreskin as a medical issue too, meaning 100% of circumcised men have some kind of medical issue with their foreskin (i.e. that it's absent).

redexpat Fri 04-Apr-14 21:35:04

Sounds nuts to me. Boom boom! grin


gamerchick Fri 04-Apr-14 21:35:58

I've known in my 39 years one dude who had problems with is jacket.

There's no money in leaving them intact and i'm sure I read somewhere once they make facecream out of waste foreskins.

Or maybe I dreamed it hmm

Shakey1500 Fri 04-Apr-14 21:36:10

I guess it's on a par with "50% of women will experience thrush/cystisis" etc

rabbitlady Fri 04-Apr-14 21:40:10

i'm sure if that were the case, op, i'd have heard of it before. it would have to be one heck of a well-kept secret. even if men don't instantly confess to problems with their foreskins, i'm sure the statistic would have been published before now. therefore, i don't believe it.

DoJo Fri 04-Apr-14 21:42:53

Does it include medical issues which would have occurred regardless - i.e. trapping one's penis in ones zip fly would cause a problem with the foreskin which would have just been a problem with the glans had the man been circumsized?

TruffleOil Fri 04-Apr-14 21:44:19

I'm American - both of my boys are circumcised, as is my husband. Hard to explain exactly how ingrained it is (or was) in the US if you're not American.

DeWe Fri 04-Apr-14 21:44:36

gamerchick I suspect it's not necessarily something people talk about though.

The thing is though that if you count any medical issue you'll get all the minor things, caught in a zip, generally slightly sore through to major problems for which circumcision is necessary.
Ds had an infected foreskin aged 3yo. Slightly sore, and he wet the bed twice which was almost unheard of. Doctor prescribed (I think) canasten cream and it was better in 2 days. Was it a medical condition? Yes. Would it not have happened if he was circumcised? I don't think so. Does that mean he would be better to be cicumcised? No.

It probably is a little like the dilemma about whether dd2 shoudl wear a hand prosthesis. Without, she's likely to hit her 30s and her back and good hand begin to give trouble. With, she's likely to hit her 30s and get shoulder and different back trouble... swings and roundabouts. But having a prosthesis isn't a painful medical operation and can be reversed.

missingwelliesinsd Fri 04-Apr-14 21:45:26

Isn't a foreskin better for sexual satisfaction as well, for both parties? I know I read that somewhere. My dh is snipped and back in my wild youth I was paranoid about using condoms so I can't judge or remember but I wouldn't want to limit my child's potential for sexual pleasure in the future.

RhondaJean Fri 04-Apr-14 21:46:32

The stretching is for a condition called phimosis. It's often not very effective.

There was a man on here a few months ago looking for help to persuade his 16 year old to have a glansectomy. He had this and by the time they tried a circumcision it was too late, scar tissue tightened further and he was going to end up losing the whole organ if he wouldn't agree to the glansectomy. Extreme case but I don't thinksmy people realise how common it is and how serious it can become.

And an adult op is pretty grim, even a straightforward circumcision, for psychological and physical reasons.

mumminio Fri 04-Apr-14 21:47:11

100% of genital mutilations - sorry, circumcisions - make money for the medial industry. Hmmm and this article comes from the Mayo Clinic.

It's 50:50 on the US West Coast, with a trend towards less intervention over time.

tmae Fri 04-Apr-14 21:48:15

I've never known a single man (men who I would know about as in family, as I'm sure a lot of men wouldn't necessarily share that information with me!) have an issue with their foreskin.

Parliamo Fri 04-Apr-14 21:54:18

I only know from past sexual partners - two were circumcised in childhood because the foreskin was too tight, and another used to bleed during sex (sometimes quite dramatically) from a foreskin problem. My brother (not a past sexual partner!) has reoccurring thrush, so does my nephew (aged 2). I don't know many more penises intimately, and those with problems make up a significant (but still less than half) proportion of dicks I know.

I don't have an axe to grind (I'm sure there must be a wittier way of putting that) in that I'm not for or against, but when I saw about how much it reduces the risk of HIV transmission, I would have considered it for a son if it were freely available.

elahrairahforprimeminister Fri 04-Apr-14 22:01:22

My exH's foreskin was too tight.

He was circumcised and for some reason it all got infected and his cock kind of exploded.


Have told this story many a time on here but it always sounds like it was written by Roald Dahl. It's not. It's true.

Primafacie Fri 04-Apr-14 22:41:52

The full text of the study is here

Thanks OP, that's an interesting read.

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