Circumcision myths and facts
Work in progress: The following information does not claim to be complete. More content will be added gradually.
There are many myths surrounding the topic of circumcision that try to justify the foreskin amputation, which is medically unnecessary. They are all unproven and scientifically refuted. In addition, they are legally on extremely thin ice, since human rights also apply to babies and children.
This article which was inspired by intactivist Shalea Self, tries to list them in an alphabetical order to help people find arguments against forced circumcision on minors (aka foreskin amputation aka genital mutilation) easier.
Myth: Penile cancer can be protected by circumcision in childhood.
Myth origin: Abraham L. Wolbarst (1926)
Fact: Circumcision does not reduce the risk.
- (19 October 2017).
Can Penile Cancer Be Prevented?, cancer.org, American Cancer Society. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Wondered what your baby went through?
Types of Circumcision - Graphic Content Warning, Your Whole Baby. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Myth: HIV can be prevented by the "vaccine" circumcision.
Myth origin: Robert C. Bailey (2007)
Fact: Circumcision does not reduce the risk of HIV. Two population-based studies from 2021 have finally fully debunked this myth. September 2021 saw the publication of two huge population studies on the relationship of circumcision and HIV infection:
- Mayan et al. (2021) carried out a massive empirical study of the male population of the province of Ontario, Canada (569,950 males), of whom 203,588 (35.7%) were circumcised between 1991 and 2017. The study concluded that circumcision status is not related to risk of HIV infection.
- Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen (2021) carried out a large scale empirical population study in Denmark of 855,654 males regarding the alleged value of male circumcision in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in men. They found that circumcised men have a higher rate of STI and HIV infection overall than intact men.
No association between lack of circumcision and risk of HIV infection was found by either study. There now is credible evidence that the massive, expensive African circumcision programs have not been effective in preventing HIV infection.
HIV, AIDS & Circumcision Resources, Dr. Momma - peaceful parenting. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Long term consequences of high levels of pain in infants
- Page GG. Are There Long-Term Consequences of Pain in Newborn or Very Young Infants?. J Perinat Educ. August 2004; 13(3): 10–17. DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Pain of circumcision and inadequate pain relief:
Pain Management Research, Your Whole Baby. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- Brady-Fryer B, Wiebe N, Lander JA. Pain relief for neonatal circumcision. Cochrane Library. 18 October 2004; Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Pain of circumcision and pain control, CIRP. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
96% of infants circumcised are done so without pain relief. The pain relief given (remaining 4%) is proven only mild relief with infant heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels still rising greatly during the procedure:
- (20 August 2021).
Infant Circumcision with Anesthesia: Does It Really Help the Pain?, The Whole Network. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Pain management/The effectiveness of anesthesia:
- Day, Danelle (2008).
The Effectiveness of Anesthesia for Circumcision Pain, Dr. Momma - peaceful parenting. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
In young boys ...
- Van Howe RS. Neonatal circumcision and penile inflammation in young boys. Clin Pediatr (Phila). May 2007; 46(4): 329-33. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- Goldman R. The psychological impact of circumcision. BJU Int. 1 January 1999; DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Permanent trauma on the boys brain:
Extreme Trauma from Male Circumcision Causes Damage to Areas of Brain, IAIM.net. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- Hung YC, Chang DC, Westfal ML, Marks IH, Masiakos PT, Kelleher CM. A Longitudinal Population Analysis of Cumulative Risks of Circumcision. J Surg Res. January 2019; 233: 111-117. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Decrease in penile sensitivity long term.
- Bronselaer GA, Schober JM, Meyer-Bahlburg HFL, T'Sjoen G, Vlietinck R, Hoebeke PB. Male circumcision decreases penile sensitivity as measured in a large cohort. BJU Int. May 2013; 111(5): 820-7. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Increased risk due to circumcision.
- Elhaik E. Neonatal circumcision and prematurity are associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). J Clin Transl Res. 10 January 2019; 4(2): 136–151. PMID. PMC. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- Elhaik E. A “Wear and Tear” Hypothesis to Explain Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Front Neurol. 2016; 7: 180. PMID. PMC. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Circumcision does not reduce the risk.
- Metha SD, Moses S, Agot K, Parker C, Ndinya-Achola JO, Maclean I, Bailey RC. Adult Male Circumcision Does Not Reduce Risk of Incident Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Trichomonas vaginalis: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Kenya. J Infect Dis. 1 August 2009; 200(3): 370–378. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Myth: UTI (urinary tract infections) can be prevented by circumcision in childhood.
Myth origin: Thomas E. Wiswell (1985)
Fact: Circumcision does not prevent UTI.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
In fact, UTI are a complication of circumcision:
Circumcision and urinary tract infection, CIRP. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Here you find collected UTI resources:
UTI Resource Page, Saving Our Sons (SoS). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Research by subtopic:
Reseearch: Topical Resources of Study, The Intact Network. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
Nursing home debate
- Joe (6 June 2016).
The Nursing Home Argument, Little Images. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- Alleged reasons for circumcision
- Arguments pro circumcision
- Circumpendium: Non-medical indications for circumcision
We found that circumcision was not independently associated with the risk of acquiring HIV among men from Ontario, Canada.