Hudson Valley Parent

HVP December 2016

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28 Hudson Valley Parent n December 2016 By LINDA FREEMAN T o circumcise or not to circum- cise? Here in the U.S., most parents of a son-on-the-way eventually have to answer that question. For some parents, the answer is easy - based on their religious or cul- tural norms. But beliefs and customs aside, as is considered an elective, non-medically necessary procedure, it's a good idea to fully understand the whys and hows as well as the medical pros and cons of having your son circumcised. Just the facts Since human males are born with a foreskin that covers the head of the penis, circumcision removes the foreskin. "Circumcisions are normally performed on infants in the hospital on the day of their discharge, usually within 48 hours of birth, by an ob- stetrician," says Dr. Barbara Gannon, a pediatrician for 25 years at the Washingtonville Pediatrics office of Boston Children's Hospital Physi- cians. Although there are instances where circumcision is delayed - such as when the child is premature, ill, has a physical anomaly of the penis or has a family history of uncon- trolled bleeding. "If anything prohibits the circum- cision before discharge, a pediatric urologist can be consulted later and the surgery performed in a medical office on an outpatient basis," she adds. In traditional Jewish religious customs, circumcision is performed on the eighth day after birth by a mohel - a person who is specially trained in circumcision and the rituals surrounding the procedure. Many mohalim are doctors or rabbis (some are both) and are required to be trained in both religious and medical fields. According to, although there is no mention of it in the Quran, circumcision was commonly done among the early Muslims during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad and is consid- ered a matter of hygiene and clean- liness, like the clipping of nails and the trimming of the moustache. Circumcision can be traced back to ancient times, apparently showing up ritualistically in Egypt, the Middle East, Australia and Polynesia. Pros and cons Opponents say the foreskin wouldn't be there if it wasn't sup- posed to be, also pointing out the ethical issues behind making irre- vocable decisions for an infant who can't decide for himself. In Europe and Canada, the regu- lar practice of circumcision died out when universal health care came in and there wasn't sufficient evidence in favor of making it a medical necessity. There are even studies suggesting pre-mature ejaculation, Circumcision 101 "You have to pull back and clean under the glans. If the father has never had to do it, it's harder to teach the son how." DR. ADELE EL KAREH OB/GYN

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