After the Surgery1

Rush to emergency care if you notice excessive bleeding.

PARENTS SHOULD FREQUENTLY CHECK FOR EXCESSIVE BLEEDING. Do not use super-absorbent disposable diapers; they can easily absorb and hide enough blood to cause your son to need a transfusion or bleed to death. Use cloth diapers until the wound heals. Follow the wound-care instructions your physician gives you. Check for soreness and redness, which might be an infection.

  1. Babies often go through a nursing strike by sleeping for hours afterward as a way of recovering from the surgery. During this time it is difficult for the baby to establish a nursing relation with the mother.
  2. Short-term complications vary, but include excessive bleeding and infections including the “Super-Bug,” MRSA, to which circumcised boys are known to be susceptible.2
  3. Postoperative pain continues for a week or two until his wound heals. Pain is most severe during urination and defecation, bandage and diaper changes, and while breastfeeding, if he is pressed against the mother.
  4. Long-term consequences include a slight increased likelihood of substance abuse,3 elaborate sexual practices,4  alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing feelings),5 and acting out impulsively, a precursor to acting violently.6 Circumcised men are 4 to 5 times as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED).
  5. Death is a possible outcome. Every year more than 100 American babies die as a result of their circumcision.7

This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.

  1. HealthWise Medical Reference, Available online at: http://children.webmd.com/tc/circumcision-what-to-expect-after-surgery Last updated: January 29, 2010.
  2. Bratu S, Eramo A, Kopec R, Coughlin E, Ghitan M, Yost R, et al. Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in hospital nursery and maternity units. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005,11(6):
  3. Richards MPM, Bernal JF, Brackbill Y. Early behavioral differences: gender or circumcision? Dev Psychobiol, 1976;9(1):89–95.
  4. Laumann EO, Masi CM, Zuckerman EW. Circumcision in the United States. JAMA. 1997;277:1052-7.
  5. Bollinger D, Van Howe RS. Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation. 2010 (in review).
  6. Tremblay RO, Vitaro F, Dobkin PL. Predicting early onset of male antisocial behavior from preschool behavior. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1994:51(9):732–739.
  7. Bollinger D. Lost boys: An estimate of US circumcision-related infant deaths. Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies, 2010;4(1):78-90.