Canadian Children's Rights Council
Conseil canadien des droits des enfants
Circumcision - Male Genital Mutilation

Circumcision and Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are rare, and mainly occur in the first year of life. They are several times commoner in girls than boys (but of course surgery is never considered for girls).

They are painful, and women's experience of them is a powerful inducement to have sons circumcised, if they imagine that this will protect them. In fact, a significant proportion of boys contract UTIs even though they are circumcised. A study in Israel found they mainly occured in girls at four months, but in boys soon after they were circumcised.... Now an Australian study suggests circumcision may cause urinary problems.

The supposed correlation between intactness and UTIs was only discovered in 1982, long after the custom of circumcision was well-established in the US. (Yet today it is commonly presented as the first reason, illustrating how circumcision is a "solution" looking for a problem - constantly looking, as each new problem is disposed of.)

Ironically, all the 1982 paper did was quite casually note that "95% of the [male] infants [with UTI] were uncircumcised." without mentioning that virtually no babies born at that hospital (Parkland in Dallas, Texas) were circumcised. The paper went on: "All infants responded promptly to antimicrobial therapy."

Dr Thomas Wiswell

Dr Thomas Wiswell

It is Dr Thomas Wiswell who has made it his life's work to establish the UTI-intact penis connection, and he is also a keen circumcisor. His many papers present statistics involving huge samples, tens of thousands of babies (which may convince those who mistakenly think large numbers guarantee accuracy). However, all the babies were born in military hospitals, where circumcision is very much the norm. It is very likely that the intact babies had their foreskins forcibly retracted  . It is also likely that a major reason for the babies to be left intact was that they were born prematurly, put in intensive care and catheterised for that reason: the catheterisation, not their intactness, caused their UTIs. There are also issues around the method of determining UTI infection. Some methods of collecting urine samples risk contamination. There is a Read More ..tailed rebuttal  of Wiswell on the CIRP website.

Another confounding factor is that in some studies, hospitalisiation is taken as the defining degree of seriousness of UTIs: but babies with UTIs are often hospitalised in order to be circumcised, so of course more intact babies appear in the statistics.

One commonly quoted figure is that UTIs are ten times as common in intact boys (1.1%) as circumcised boys (0.1%). This means that circumcision offers an absolute reduction of 1% at best.

Combining the rarity of UTIs, with the only partial prevention attributable to circumcision,  To et al  calculated that it would take 195 circumcisions to prevent one UTI:

Thanks to Hugh Young  for his volunteer efforts regarding this webpage.  For the complete articles see the website at:  www.circumstitions.com 


Pediatricians turn away from circumcision

The United States is the only country that routinely circumcises baby boys for non-religious reasons

CNN, U.S.A.
March 1, 1999

ATLANTA (CNN) -- American pediatricians are turning away from the practice of routine circumcision, concluding that doctors have no good medical reason to perform the procedure.

The United States is the only country in the world that routinely removes the foreskins of infant boys. Critics of circumcision got additional ammunition Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading medical organization.

The academy concluded the benefits "are not compelling enough" for circumcision to be routinely administered.

baby screaming in pain

A newborn winces in pain after a circumcision

Monday's statement, published in the March edition of the journal Pediatrics, was the academy's first in 10 years on the practice. But in recent years, medical societies in Canada, Britain and Australia have come out in opposition to routine circumcision.

Critics have long contended that removing the foreskin from the penis is traumatic, medically unnecessary and may reduce sexual pleasure later in life. As one critic, Dr. George Denniston, put it: "Who are we to question mother nature?"

Canadian researchers, whose study was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, studied the heart rates and crying patterns of babies during different stages of circumcision.

In fact, in the study they found the babies suffered so much trauma that they stopped the study part way through.

The results were so compelling that they took the unusual step of stopping the study before it was scheduled to end rather than subjecting any Read More ..bies to circumcision.

One baby stopped breathing for 25 seconds from the trauma of having part of his foreskin severed.  Read More ..

"..Circumcision May CAUSE Urinary Tract Infection"

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are rare, and mainly occur in the first year of life. They are several times Read More .. common in girls than boys (but of course surgery is never considered for girls).

They are painful, and women's experience of them is a powerful inducement to have sons circumcised, if they imagine that this will protect them. In fact, a significant proportion of boys contract UTIs even though they are circumcised. A study in Israel found they mainly occurred in girls at four months, but in boys soon after they were circumcised....  Now an Australian study suggests circumcision may cause urinary problems.  Read More ..