10 Surprising Scientific Facts About Circumcision

Judy Dutton | Mar 5, 2015 Baby

surgeryCircumcision is one of those controversial decisions many parents must weigh -- and since people's feelings can often get carried away on this topic, it can really help to do your homework and know the latest scientific facts. This should help. We've taken a look at the studies on the benefits and the risks of circumcising your little boy.

Researchers have weighed in on everything from the right time to get it done (if that's what you want, of course) to how parents make the choice.

Is #10 how you decided, too?


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  • Circumcision May Double Autism Risk


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    While the exact cause of autism is still highly debated, one recent study suggests that circumcision may double the risk of autism -- yikes! The researchers, who studied health records of 342, 877 Danish boys to come to this conclusion, theorize that the pain and trauma of getting circumcised could lead to the neurodevelopmental disorder.

  • Circumcised Men Struggle to Express Their Feelings


    Image via Adam Gregor/shutterstock

    Circumcision may not just mess with a man's physical body parts. One study suggests that the pain and trauma of the procedure may also make it more difficult for men to identify and express their feelings.

    More from The Stir: Ad Comparing Circumcision to Child Molestation Has Moms Upset

  • Circumcision Reduces Risk of Cancer


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    Few specters scare the bejeesus out of men like cancer -- especially if that cancer hovers below the belt. But it turns out circumcised guys may be in luck, since studies have shown that the procedure lowers a man's risk of prostate cancer and penile cancer. It even has benefits for female partners, lowering their risk of cervical cancer.

  • Circumcision Lowers Risk of HIV


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    Here's yet another deadly health problem circumcised men are more likely to avoid: HIV. Researchers theorize that removing the foreskin allows fewer bacteria to congregate in this area and compromise the immune system, which makes individuals more susceptible to contracting the virus.

  • Circumcision Decreases Penile Sensitivity


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    In spite of the many health benefits of circumcision, let's not forget the fact that we are literally cutting off a piece of skin on a very sensitive area! As a result, it may come as no surprise that some studies have shown that circumcision decreases penile sensitivity. Less skin, less nerves, less pleasure.

    More from The Stir: Bleeding After Circumcision: Is It Normal?

  • Circumcision Can Lead to Sexual Difficulties


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    Since circumcision messes with a key body part involved in sex, it's probably not too surprising that some studies have found that the procedure can lead to sexual difficulties once these boys turn into adults, including premature ejaculation.

  • The Benefits Outweigh The Risks 100:1


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    Clearly there are pros and cons to circumcision... so perhaps the better question to ask is do the pros outweight the cons, or vice versa? Well, according to one study by the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks 100:1.

  • The Earlier You Circumcise, the Better


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    If you're on the fence about whether to go through with it, don't belabor the decision too long! One study found that the earlier you circumcise, the better in terms of a baby's health -- and the less complicated and costly the medical procedure. 


  • Circumcised Babies Get Fewer Urinary Tract Infections


    Image via pavla/shutterstock

    One of the main arguments for circumcision is that it helps keep those little boy parts clean and bacteria-free. This may explain why one study of more than 402,000 baby boys found that circumcision significantly lowers a boy's risk of getting urinary tract infections (UTIs).


  • Baby's Circumcision Status Follows in Dad's Footsteps


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    No doubt about it, circumcision comes with benefits and risks, so there are no clear-cut answers on what parents should do. That may explain why many families base their decision on family tradition: one study found that 41 percent of parents who circumcise their babies do so simply because the dad was circumcised, while 19 percent of parents forego the procedure because dad was uncircumcised. Like father, like son!

    More from The Stir: The Circumcision Decision: 24 Parents on How They Made the Choice


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