A reader writes:
I always read your circumcision posts with great interest because both my husband and I are both circumcised and we elected NOT to have our boys (ages seven and eleven) circumcised. We have no regrets. Unfortunately, we are now faced with a very unexpected dilemma: our seven-year-old’s foreskin does NOT functionally retract, and this has caused some problems with urination. We are also told that this will cause a bigger problem as he matures. Currently, our urologist has him applying steroid cream treatment four times a day, but this has produced no positive results. We are NOW faced with very real fact of circumcising our seven-year-old son. This was the last thing we ever expected and, believe it or not, have never heard of such a condition. The information available to us via our doctor and online research is both limiting and overwhelming, respectively.
So, as a shot in the dark, I wonder if you and your gifted readers could shed any light on this condition and/or any solutions other than circumcision.
That problem with retraction was apparently why my own willy was mutilated when I was an infant. I have no medical expertise on this … but I bet the Dish collective mind has some. Meanwhile, another reader underscores the difference between circumcising a newborn and a child:
I’m pro-circumcision, but when I saw the story you linked to yesterday about the four-year-old boy in Florida whose father went and obtained a court order to authorize a circumcision, my reaction was “No fucking way!” My own gut reaction surprised me. So I stopped and thought further: Wait, why would I be opposed to this boy’s circumcision and not to an infant, when the health benefits cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics would still apply either way?
To answer that question I thought back to an incident at my dentist’s office just this week.
As my dentist and his assistant were working away at my problem tooth I could hear from the next room over a child who was very unhappy about being at the dentist. The whining and complaining eventually turned into blood curdling screams as his procedure was getting under way. I’ve never been in the presence of someone being tortured, but I can only imagine that the sounds coming from this child are similar.
I have a small child myself. It’s heart wrenching to see him in pain or fear when getting an inoculation or exam at the doctor. All I wanted to do was run into that next dentist’s room, stop whatever was going on, give him the boy a hug and tell him it’s all over. But that would be wrong. We (parents) put our kids through these things because we know in the end that the benefits of the shots and the dental work outweigh the pain and psychological trauma the kids experience when it happens.
So what of circumcision then? Do the benefits outweigh the pain and psychological trauma? Even as someone who is pro-circumcision, I knew immediately that the benefits for this boy will not outweigh the pain and psychological torture he would suffer by going through the procedure at that age. A newborn infant heals quickly, cannot even reach his genitals, and has no mental understanding of them. None of those conditions applies by the time a boy is four. He should be left alone. The benefits of circumcision are less notable in a modern clean civilization such as ours – and non-existent when looking at it in the context of what that boy will have to endure. I pray that no urologist will actually perform this procedure at that father’s request.
While I’m not moved enough to change sides on the overall debate (I still think parents should have this option for their newborns), the whole incident has be thinking and questioning it all. This would not have happened without the Dish, as I would not have even known about this story with you. Thanks again for making me think. Keep the circumcision debate going.