SYDNEY — The debate over whether or not to circumcise male babies has picked up in recent years, but researchers may have put to bed any doubt that the procedure is worth it. A new study finds that circumcision carries a 200 to 1 risk benefit, while 1 in 2 uncircumcised males were likely to suffer a foreskin-related medical condition.
The study, published in the Feb. 8 edition of the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, was conducted at the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and several teaching hospitals. The study determined that only 1 in 250 males who are circumcised — less than 1 percent — were at risk of developing a foreskin-related medical condition. The likelihood was exponentially worse for uncircumcised males, who face an 80 percent risk of the same fate.
“Over their lifetime more than one in two uncircumcised males will suffer an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin,” the study’s lead author, Dr Brian Morris, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney, said in a release. “The enormous benefit but low risk makes early infant circumcision akin to childhood vaccination.”
Researchers reached their conclusions by analyzing data from 140 “high quality” studies published in journals between 2005 and 2015 related to circumcision. The studies examined how the procedure protected against a slew of conditions such as urinary tract infections, inflammatory conditions, STIs, genital ulcers, and penile, prostate, or cervical cancers.
Randomized control studies were included in the analysis, as well.
The studies had determined the level of protection male circumcision affords against individual conditions such as urinary infections, inflammatory conditions, sexually transmitted infections and genital cancers, as well as the level of risk posed by the circumcision procedure itself in infancy. The researchers also determined the procedure didn’t pose a significant risk of affecting one’s sex life.
“Strong evidence shows no adverse effect on penile function, sexual sensitivity or pleasure,” said Dr. Morris, adding that “circumcision is a desirable public health intervention. It is also cost saving.”
Another study recently found that circumcision significantly helped prevent the spread of HIV.