Cut, cut: Uncircumcised babies are prone to infections

by Isi Esene

Does your baby have UTI? Ok, I knew you’d ask what UTI is. It’s Urinary Tract Infection, a disease tough to recognise in babies because they typically cause only vague symptoms, like a low fever.

Baby boys who are uncircumcised have an increased risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) – whether their foreskin is “tight” or not, a study published on Monday has shown.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an uncircumcised boy has about a one per cent chance of developing a UTI in his first year of life.

But the risk for a circumcised baby is one in 1,000.

Alexander Dubrovsky, who led a team of researchers on the new study however stated that their absolute risk is still low.

Dr. Dubrovsky and his team studied 393 baby boys who were sent to their hospital for UTI testing, 309 of them were uncircumcised.

He explained that the study was not set up to inform the debate over circumcision. He maintained that the decision to circumcise still remains the sole prerogative of parents.

There are, however, some possible health benefits to circumcised babies; besides the somewhat lower risk of UTI in infancy, circumcised boys may have a slightly lower risk of STDs, including HIV, later in life. They also seem to have a lower risk of penile cancer, but that’s a rare disease.

UTIs can easily be treated with antibiotics, but repeat UTIs may be a sign of an abnormality in the urinary tract. And untreated infections could scar the kidneys.

“Our study doesn’t answer any questions on the potential benefits of routine circumcision,” Dubrovsky said.

He suggested that parents talk with their doctors about the possible pros and cons of circumcision, then decide for themselves.

 

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