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Trauma is defined as physical injury or psychological or emotional damage.[1]

Physical trauma

Physical trauma is any injury caused by a mechanical or physical agent.[1]

Psychic trauma

Psychic trauma is a psychologically upsetting experience that produces an emotional or mental disorder or otherwise has lasting negative effects on a person's thoughts, feelings, or behavior.[1]

Birth trauma

Jacobsen & Bygdeman (1998) reported an association between birth trauma and adult suicide.[2]

Circumcision trauma

Circumcision trauma includes both physical trauma and psychic trauma.[3] [4] [5] Batteley, Metters & Smith (2023) state, in addition to the physical risks, the psychological risks should receive attention.[6]

Physical circumcision trauma

Circumcision, more properly described as posthectomy, is the surgical excision and amputation of the foreskin of the penis, which permanently removes a significant portion of the epithelium of the penis and destroys the significant and important protective, immunological, sexual, and sensory physiological functions of that structure, and leaves the patient permanently and irreversibly impaired by the loss of those functions.[7]

Results of physical circumcision trauma

Results of physical trauma include:

Psychic circumcision trauma

According to Marilyn Milos, "every man who has a scar on his penis also has a scar on his psyche." The medical community, however, has been slow to recognize the trauma of circumcision.[6] [8]

Although a circumcision may be performed at any age, circumcisions are most commonly performed on newborn boys in the first month of life outside of the mother's womb. At that tender age general anesthesia is too dangerous to administer, so newborn boys receive only minimal pain relief at best and, in many cases, none at all.

Circumcised boys had a higher pain response at time of vaccination six months later as compared with intact boys,[9][10] showing that the nervous system had been permanently sensitized to heightened pain sensation.

Taddio et al. (1997) concluded:

Although postsurgical central sensitisation (allodynia and hyperalgesia) can extend to sites of the body distal from the wound, suggesting a supraspinal effect, the long-term consequences of surgery done without anaesthesia are likely to include post-traumatic stress as well as pain. It is, therefore, possible that the greater vaccination response in the infants circumcised without anaesthesia may represent an infant analogue of a post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by a traumatic and painful event and re-experienced under similar circumstances of pain during vaccination.
– Taddio et al. (1997)[10]

Boyle & Ramos (2019) reported PTSD in circumcised boys in the Philippine Islands.[11]

Results of psychic circumcision trauma

Results of psychic circumcision trauma include:


Two ethicists, Myers & Earp (2020), have conducted a detailed review and analysis of the claimed medical benefits of non-therapeutic circumcision. They have determined that the alleged benefits are not material, so they do not support granting of consent by a surrogate. Moreover, they comment that even the most perfectly executed surgery produces trauma and harm to the patient. Circumcision also produces tissue loss and loss of function, therefore, circumcision should be performed only after the individual reaches the age of consent.[12] Consent by a surrogate for a non-therapeutic circumcision is an unethical practice.

See also

External links


  1. a b c REFweb (2003). Trauma, The Free Medical Dictionary by Farlex. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  2. REFjournal Jacobsen B, Bygdeman M. Obstetric care and proneness of offspring to suicide as adults: case-control study. BMJ. 1998; 317(7169): 1346. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  3. REFjournal Boyle GJ, Goldman R, Svoboda JS, Fernandez E. Male Circumcision: Pain, Trauma and Psychosexual Sequelae. Journal of Health Psychology. 2002; 7(3): 329-43. DOI. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  4. REFjournal Aydoğdu B, Azizoğlu M, Okur MH. Social and psychological effects of circumcision: A narrative review PDF. Journal of Applied Nursing and Health. 2022; 4(2): 264-71. DOI. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  5. REFjournal Boyle GJ. Circumcision of Infants and Children: Short-Term Trauma and Long-Term Psychosexual Harm PDF. Advances in Sexual Medicine. 15 April 2015; 5(3): 22-38. DOI. Retrieved 5 March 2024.
  6. a b REFjournal Batterley M, Metters J, Smith D. Male Circumcision-Based Trauma: Should it be Shown Greater Recognition?. PsyArXiv. 18 January 2023; Preprint: 1-13. DOI. Retrieved 25 February 2023.
  7. REFjournal Cold CJ, Taylor JR. The prepuce. BJU Int. January 1999; 83, Suppl. 1: 34-44. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  8. REFjournal Goldman R. The psychological impact of circumcision. BJU Int. 1 January 1999; 83 Suppl. 1: 93-103. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  9. REFjournal Taddio A, Goldbach M, Ipp M, Stevens B, Koren G. Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain responses during vaccination in boys. Lancet. 1995; 345: 291-292. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  10. a b REFjournal Taddio A, Katz J, Ilersich AL, Koren G. Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain response during subsequent routine vaccination. Lancet. 1 March 1997; 349: 599-603. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  11. REFjournal Boyle GJ, Ramos S. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Filipino boys subjected to non-therapeutic ritual or medical surgical procedures: A retrospective cohort study. Annals of Medicine and Surgery. 2019; 42: 19-22. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  12. REFjournal Myers A, Earp BD. What is the best age to circumcise? A medical and ethical analysis. J Biosoc Sci. September 2020; 34(7): 560-72. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 18 May 2023.