By the fortieth week of pregnancy, the boy’s penis is fully formed, has a length of 2-2.5 cm and outside is covered with a skin flap all over. The lower part of this “hood” is called the foreskin.
The organ consists of two layers – external and internal, which doctors call leaves. Under certain circumstances or for religious reasons, both can be removed at the same time.
But you shouldn’t rush to conclusions.
Before birth, the glans penis and the foreskin develop as a single tissue. And only after the birth of a child into the world begin to separate from each other.
This process continues for more than one year, and does not always go without complications.
In humans, there is nothing superfluous. And even such a seemingly unimportant piece of skin performs its tasks.
- Representing a kind of “cover”, the foreskin protects the head of the penis from the effects of the external environment and injuries.
- On the foreskin are sebaceous glands, secreting a secret. Mixed with moisture, it forms a lubricant (smegma) that prevents the head from drying out.
- As part of the smegma there are substances that “help” the foreskin to separate from the head of the penis – as if to ripen, so as to freely separate from the penis. Reaching the condition, the foreskin moves easily, opens the head at the right moment, and then again takes the same position.
- There are many nerve endings in the foreskin that are responsible for erections and sensations during intercourse.
In newborn boys, the foreskin is especially long: it is stretched forward and narrowed so that the inner leaf literally sticks to the head of the penis and prevents it from releasing. This condition is called physiological phimosis and most often does not bother either the baby or his parents.
It happens that a small amount of smegma comes out. And then mom sees white bloom with a specific smell on the child’s penis.
Discharge is easily washed off with water. Trying to penetrate deeper, shifting the foreskin and exposing the head of the penis, is not recommended, and is unlikely to succeed.
And if you attach them, you can disrupt the natural course of events and harm the baby.
There is another scenario as well – pathological phimosis. Mom notices that the end of the extreme port turned red, and the baby cries when urinating. The doctor ascertains the violation of smegma outflow, tissue inflammation, specifies the diagnosis and prescribes treatment.
Usually, after a course of therapy, and often without antibiotics, the child recovers. But after a repeat relapse, the doctor will certainly advise parents to think about circumcision.
Removed tissue can not prevent the outflow of secretions and cleansing the head, and therefore, no inflammation does not happen. So, not too deeply delving into the essence of the problem, the ancient Aesculapas argued, understanding that they could not offer anything else: there was not only normal disinfectants, often there was no place to get clean water.
The mention of circumcision as a hygienic procedure is in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish theologian and healer who lived in the middle of the first century BC. But many religions deny this component of the procedure and perceive it as a sacrifice to God.
It is believed that the main apologists of circumcision are Jews and Muslims, but in fact the rite existed outside these two religions, and long before their appearance. It was practiced in the pagan Phenicia, Babylon, Ancient Egypt. In the Cairo Museum, a statue of the pharaoh with trimmed foreskin.
A papyrus preserved depicting the procedure itself: two adult young men are cut with special-shaped knives. In many tribes of Africa and other parts of the world, circumcision has been and remains the main component of initiation – the initiation of a teenager into a man.
Early Christians also went through this until Roman Emperor Constantine the Great imposed a ban on manipulation.
Every religion sets its time for circumcision. According to the laws of Islam and Judaism, the rite is held on the eighth day of the baby’s life. It is believed that the crumb is already so strong that it can endure the test.
In African tribes, manipulation is carried out during puberty at 13-17 years.
Until the end of the twentieth century, 90% of American boys were circumcised: the operation was considered a hygienic measure, because, according to scientists, it solved many “male” problems. Over time, the indisputability of its “pluses” shaken and continues to gain momentum. Doctors debate about the benefits and dangers of circumcision continues.
And for every argument defenders of the procedure, there is a decent answer from opponents.
Arguments against circumcision
In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ending the practice of circumcision of all newborn boys because of the painful shock experienced by the babies. For this reason, health insurance companies have excluded the procedure from the total cost of labor and, accordingly, stopped paying it.
However, the statement that the operation causes a strong painful shock can easily be challenged, recalling that the procedure, if carried out in a clinic, and not in a mosque or synagogue, takes place under general or local anesthesia. And the use of a laser knife allows you to avoid “bloodshed” and blood poisoning.
After circumcision increases the risk of infection of the head of the penis of babies, because it remains open to germs and viruses that hide in the grooves and folds of the groin. Parasites will probably do their dirty deed if the baby moves around naked in the apartment or the mother hesitates and does not change the overfilled diaper in time.
However, it is not difficult to resist the attacks of microbes, and there is more than enough means for disinfection.
After circumcision, the skin on the head of the penis becomes too dry, because part of the glands that produce lubricant is removed. Because of this, microcracks appear on it more often.
And besides, a man for the implementation of sexual intercourse often requires additional hydration.
However, it is easy to rectify the situation by using moisturizing and emollients during the care of the inguinal zone.
Circumcision opens the head to “all the winds.” Gradually, the skin on it becomes thicker, losing excessive sensitivity. So, the level of pleasure from sexual contact decreases.
But only the one who made circumcision in conscious age feels the difference.
However, in some cases, a slight loss of sensitivity of the head of the penis is beneficial: precluded premature ejaculation and sexual intercourse becomes prolonged.
And another “against” is heard from the camp of human rights and environmental organizations, who believe that the removal of any part of the human body is possible only with his conscious consent. Since the baby is not ready to “stand up” for himself, child circumcision is inhuman and should be prohibited.
The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that medical data to support circumcision as a routine procedure is not enough. ”
Main argument for circumcision
The main indication for circumcision of the foreskin in infants remains the same pathological phimosis, but manifesting itself not only with redness and inflammation, but a violation of urination, in which:
- the foreskin is filled with urine and turns into a ball;
- urine comes out through the opening in drops or in a thin stream;
- urination is delayed, which disproportionately increases the volume of the bladder.
And other “advantages”: Farsighted doctors and parents who are concerned about the reproductive health of children in the future, provide additional justification for circumcision – general and specific. But they are also ambiguous.
The March 2000 Archives of Dermatology states that uncircumcised men are three times more likely to become infected with skin and venereal diseases and AIDS. In the folds of the foreskin, viruses and carriers of genital infections, obtained from partners, linger longer and multiply.
WHO’s recommendations on the desirable circumcision of men living in countries with a high incidence of immunodeficiency virus, in particular African ones, are known.
Published studies and that smegma, long remaining in the folds, decomposes, becomes carcinogenic, and can cause cancer of the glans penis or foreskin. But how then to explain this paradox: in the world about 18% of circumcised men, most have foreskin.
And penile cancer still remains a very rare disease (on average, it is diagnosed in 0.3–5% of men). Moreover, in Europe and America, 2% of the stronger sex suffer from it, and in the countries of the Middle East (where circumcision is the norm) and tropical – 10%.
In Denmark, for example, where circumcision is considered a barbaric procedure and is not strongly recommended, cases of penile cancer are rare.
The partners of men who have undergone circumcision are much less likely to have cervical cancer. Smegma, not washed away in time, decomposes and releases carcinogenic substances that give impetus to the development of genital warts that can be transformed into a malignant tumor.
But if you follow the sanitary standards and wash regularly, then there will be no hazardous substances on the head of the penis.