To maintain that circumcision is harmless and even beneficial is to insist that injuring is safe and healthy. Or that deconstruction is constructive. This view needs a good deal of constructive criticism.
First of all, medical and hygienic arguments in favour of circumcision were presented because the health advantages of the operation are far from being self-evident. Actually, circumcision is a dangerous intervention that has proved to present serious health hazards. Otherwise, if circumcision was safe and harmless it would not need to be justified.
The complications that circumcision causes have brought about the elaboration of a technique of squeezing blood from the wound of the infant called metzitzah. Squeezing the blood from a fresh wound prevents infection from penetrating it so the practice of metzitzah admits that the circumcision wound as any other wound presents risks to healthof the baby. This is even more so for the oral variant of the technique known as metzitzah b’peh.[i] In it the circumciser sucks blood from the circumcision wound on the baby’s penis. Although oral suction is obviously unhygienic it is clamed to reduce the postoperative complications, which comes to show that only a small part of them stems from bacterial infection.[ii]
Urinary tract infections
The urethra[iii] as any bodily orifice must stay closed. And it does so in all animals. The most obvious role of the foreskin is to keep the urethra covered. The prepuce seals the urethra as the lips seal the mouth and prevents pathogens from entering. It is a reliable mechanical defence of the urinary tract tested by evolution. In no way is its removal to be advantageous. And of course, we may expect that circumcision increases the frequency of urinary tract infection.[iv][v] Actually, the forceful retraction of the foreskin that parents are often advised to perform destroys the protective structure situated between the foreskin and glans, inserts bacteria in it and increases the risk of UTI.[vi]
Phimosis is the condition of not fully retractable foreskin.[vii] It occurs when the foreskin or the frenulum[viii] – the sensitive skin band that holds it to the glans – are insufficiently developed. Treatment of phimosis should enlarge the foreskin instead of shortening or removing it. Phimosis is a foreskin deficiency disease. This explains why circumcision causes it in about 3% of the cases.[ix] Clearly, this makes circumcision an irrelevant method for both curing and preventing phimosis. Circumcision even causes it.
Phimosis is a normal state up to puberty so it needs not be treated during adolescence.[x] Non-retractibility of the foreskin is widespread among minors. Being categorized as an abnormality falsely justifies circumcision. But after circumcision is performed there is no way to disprove the claim that it has prevented more cases of phimosis than it has caused.
In adults phimosis is caused by bacterial infection which can be healed with drugs. Circumcision does not cure the condition but removes the problematic organ. Many nonsurgical treatments are available and in most cases (95%) they help.[xi][xii]
Prevention of natural complications
Circumcising doctors could follow the example of dentists and educate patients how to keep their foreskins clean instead of persuading them to get circumcised. But soon they may fall short of patients because the foreskin does not need a care so special. Besides, they most probably lack experience and expertise in the normal sanitation of the foreskin.
Potential malfunctions are not medical arguments at all. Preventive medical procedure should not include harming patients. Medicine is the art of healing not of mutilation.
Actually, the medical complications of circumcision are numerous as those which are reported occur in about 10% of circumcisions.[xiii] These also help medical profession make its living and contribute to its prestige. Cases of death as result of complications of neonatal circumcision are known.[xiv] Their number is uncertain because regularly the fatalities are attributed either to the complications or to the causes that have necessitated circumcision. Some studies show that annually more than 100 boys die in U.S. due to their circumcision so about 1.3% of male neonatal deaths are the outcomes of circumcision.[xv]
An anecdotal reason for circumcision of the Arabs independent of Islamization is the slipping of desert sand through the foreskins. Penetration of sand seems plausible because the desert sand is thin and men wear no underwear. But the real trouble is the sand’s entering into the urethra that the foreskin normally prevents.
Circumcision leaves the urethra uncovered and not infrequently wide open so once again the natural state is the best protection against mechanical contamination. Besides, the quick-sand arguments in no way explain why the female circumcision is widespread in Arab countries since the labia obviously prevent sand from stealing into the vagina. Nor do the sand arguments illuminate why the prevalence of the female circumcision in different Arab countries is proportional to the degree of religiousness. A backward logic attempting to rationalize or justify circumcision in the Arab world must have fabricated the sand arguments for circumcision. They seem to be mutated medical arguments.