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Doctors Opposing Circumcision

July 15, 2019

A group called Doctors Opposing Circumcision portrays itself as a medical organization. The website describes the organization as "an international network of physicians dedicated to protecting the genital integrity and eventual autonomy of all children, serving both health professionals and the public through education, support, and advocacy."

 

In fact it's just a façade. You don’t need to be a physician in order to join; you don't even need a medical background. All you would need is to send money to the group’s president. Nearly half of the organization’s Board of Directors - 6 out of 14 - aren't even physicians. [1]

 

 

 

About the President

Founder and president George Denniston is a retired Seattle physician and professor emeritus at the University of Washington. Denniston is an Intact America board member and the author of several anti-circumcision books - in collaboration with NOCIRC founder Marilyn Milos.

 

According to the DOC website, "Denniston founded D.O.C. in 1995 to eradicate the unethical and unnecessary practice of partial penile amputation of children (circumcision), not only because of the harm that it has done to millions of American boys and men, but also because it has damaged the reputation of the medical profession." [1]

 

Denniston told a Canadian reporter, “I have never seen anything in medical literature as bad as circumcision literature. A lot of it stands out to me as bullshit. Advocates for circumcision use medical literature to promote their cause and don’t give a damn if it’s true or not." [2] The irony of that statement is breathtaking.

 

Denniston made several false and misleading statements in a rambling 9-minute video for YouTube. For example, he falsely claimed that most circumcised boys develop meatal stenosis, and that every circumcision has complications and causes permanent damage. [3] The American Academy of Pediatrics described two studies in which less than one percent of circumcised boys developed meatal stenosis. The AAP reported that overall, "significant acute complications are rare, occurring in approximately 1 in 500 newborn male circumcisions." [4]

 

Denniston wrote in a medical journal article that the rate of adult circumcision in Finland is 1 in 16,667 [5] - a statistic that has no basis in fact. [6] He has made the absurd argument that circumcision may be the cause of up to one million abortions in the United States each year. [7]

 

 

About the website

The DOC website is full of information that is false, misleading, hysterical, and potentially harmful. Here are a handful of examples.

 


Urinary Tract Infections

DOC says that infections can be treated with "good topical ointments and antibiotics", and circumcision should be considered only as a last resort, and should "rarely, if ever, be necessary." [8] However a recent study in Denmark found that circumcision was the treatment in 24% of cases involving boys diagnosed with phimosis. [9] Bear in mind that Denmark is the most foreskin friendly country on earth. [10] 

 

DOC claims that "the risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI) in a boy that has not been circumcised is no different than in one who has been circumcised, except possibly in the first six months of life. Even then, the risk is still quite small at less than 1 in 100 ... Treatment with antibiotics, given by mouth, is usually all that is needed for a UTI in an intact boy, the same as it would be for girls (who have a 5 times greater chance of getting a UTI)." [11]

 

Girls may have a higher UTI rate because of the shorter distance from the bladder to the urethra, the shorter distance from the anus to the urethra, and the "increased moist tissue and folds of females’ genitals [that] might allow bacteria to colonize the area more easily." [12] Unlike circumcision, surgical cutting wouldn't reduce the risk of infection for girls; in fact it might increase the risk.

 

A 2000 study reported that the risk of a UTI in the first year of life was ten times greater for uncircumcised boys than for circumcised boys. [13] A 2005 meta-analysis also found a 90% decrease in UTI risk for circumcised boys. [14] A 2018 study found that circumcision decreased the risk of UTIs by almost 80%. [15]

 

The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control have advised that antibiotics should be used sparingly. The WHO is concerned that UTIs have become more resistant to antibiotics, [16] [17] which the CDC warns can have harmful side effects. [18] By significantly reducing the incidence of UTIs, newborn circumcision reduces the need for antibiotics in the first place. DOC's advice that parents can simply rely on antibiotics to treat a persistent infection is naive and harmful.

 

 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Possibly trying to frighten parents, DOC reported that circumcision is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), [19] citing a study from the United Kingdom. [20] A prominent Dutch physician rejected the study as “flawed, biased and unreliable," [21] and this website contains a complete refutation. [22] We are unaware of any medical association that advises that circumcision increases the risk of SIDS.

 

 

Sexual Impact

Citing O'Hara's 1999 survey of women, DOC said that women with circumcised partners reported a decreased enjoyment of intercourse, decreased sense of intimacy, and a decreased ability to experience orgasm from vaginal intercourse. [23]

 

The O'Hara study [24] violated standard survey methodology. Respondents were recruited via an ad placed in an anti-circumcision newsletter, and the survey was conducted over a period of several years. Survey questions featured prejudicial terms and were structured to elicit responses favoring uncircumcised sex. Some questions were added or reworded during the survey period. The study is worthless. [25] Women in a 2015 Canadian study did not report significant differences in their "experiences of sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, or pain with penetrative intercourse." [26]

 

DOC cited two studies to show that "the loss of the gliding action of the foreskin can lead to difficulties with intromission, with an increased amount of force required for penetration." The 2004 Chinese study that included patients who suffered from erectile dysfunction prior to adult circumcision [27] cannot reveal anything about the possible effects of infant circumcision on sexual performance. (A study of more than 2,700 African men found that “adult male circumcision was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Circumcised men reported increased penile sensitivity and enhanced ease of reaching orgasm.") [28]

 

In the 2002 study, [29] a University of Washington psychiatrist cut a hole in the bottom of a Styrofoam cup, mounted the cup on a diet scale, and penetrated the hole with his erect penis - alternately with his glans exposed and with his foreskin covering the glans. In other words, the 76 year-old researcher had sex with a Styrofoam cup. [30] The use of these studies shows that DOC does not follow scientific principles. Or perhaps they don't understand how science works in the first place.

 

 

Psychological Impact 

DOC cited several studies to show that circumcision causes PTSD, "anger, shame, shyness, fear, low self-esteem, and decreased ability for emotional intimacy." [31] Our analysis of psychological effects addressed these studies and debunked the various claims that circumcision causes lifelong trauma. [32] The Centers for Disease Control also addressed many of these assertions. [33]

 

Of particular concern is DOC's promotion of a study by longtime anti-circumcision activist Morten Frisch. DOC claims that the study shows that "circumcised boys may have a greater risk of developing autism spectrum disorder before age ten and a higher risk for infantile autism before age five."

 

This alarming statement ignores the study's several deficiencies. Frisch cited a study that examined a link between autism and Tylenol usage, not circumcision. Frisch equated displaying a painful reaction with experiencing a pain reaction. He admitted that there were significant cultural differences between the circumcised Muslims boys and the uncircumcised Danish boys. Finally, DOC ignored the author's caveat that "no firm conclusions should be drawn at this point." [34] [35] The CDC noted that the many methodological and analytic concerns makes "the findings suspect." [33]

 

 

Conclusion

Doctor is the second most trusted profession in the United States - second only to nursing. [36] Parents trust medical professionals to provide accurate, unbiased, sober, and scientifically valid information and advice. We trust them with our lives and the lives of our children.

 

Doctors Opposing Circumcision is a sham organization that betrays the faith and trust that Americans have for the medical establishment. Not because DOC advocates against circumcision. Because they promote the same false, misleading, and hysterical "intactofacts" as other anti-circumcision groups. At its core there is no meaningful difference between DOC and the others. As a former Pentagon official put it, "You can put a lot of lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." [37]

 

 

 

[1] "About Us"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision

[2] Roger Collier; "Ugly messy and nasty debate surrounds circumcision"; Canadian Medical Association Journal; January 10, 2012

[3] George C. Denniston; "Doctors Opposing Circumcision - George Denniston"; YouTube; April 20, 2016

[4] Susan Blank, M.D. et al; "Male Circumcision - Task Force on Circumcision Technical Report"; Pediatrics; September 2012

[5] George C. Denniston; "Circumcision and the Code of Ethics". Humane Health Care International; April, 1996. 

[6] "Is it true that just 1 in 16,667 men will require a circumcision?"; Circumcision Choice; November 29, 2018
[7] George C. Denniston, et al; "Genital Cutting: Protecting Children from Medical, Cultural, and Religious Infringements", p 63; Springer; 2013. "In my practice, I have seen how circumcision can be posited as the untoward cause of many abortions. Adult neonatally circumcised males frequently exhibit an irrational terror at the prospect of a vasectomy. They finally go reluctantly, after their wife has had at least two abortions. They knew that they did not want more children, but their fear of a genital operation was so great from the early trauma of circumcision that they refused vasectomy and thus let their wives suffer needlessly. Multiply these experiences by the 500,000 vasectomies that are performed every year in the United States, and there is the potential for one million abortions caused by circumcision each year."

[8] "Does my son really need a circumcision to treat a foreskin infection?"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision

[9] Ida Sneppen, Jørgen Thorup; "Foreskin Morbidity in Uncircumcised Males"; Pediatrics; May, 2016

[10] Martin Selsoe Sorensen; "Denmark Talks (Reluctantly) About a Ban on Circumcising Boys"; New York Times; June 2, 2018. "One recent survey, by the polling company Megafon for the television network TV2, found that 83% of voters supported a ban on circumcising boys."

[11] "What if my son gets a urinary tract infection?"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision

[12] "Circumcision and urinary tract infections"; Children's Hospital of Orange County; June 19, 2015
[13] EJ Schoen et al; "Newborn circumcision decreases incidence and costs of urinary tract infections during the first year of life"; Pediatrics; April 2000. "Newborn circumcision results in a 9. 1-fold decrease in incidence of UTI during the first year of life."

[14] D Singh-Grewal et al; "Circumcision for the prevention of urinary tract infection in boys: a systematic review of randomised trials and observational studies"; Acute paediatrics; May 12, 2005. "The odds of UTI in circumcised boys are about 0.1 when compared with uncircumcised boys. This represents a reduction in odds of nearly 90%."

[15] Michael L. Eisenberg et al; "The Relationship between Neonatal Circumcision, Urinary Tract Infection, and Health"; The World Journal of Men's Health; March 2018. "Importantly, no difference in the rate of UTI was identified in the first two weeks of life. However, up to 2 years of age, uncircumcised boys had a higher rate of UTIs compared to circumcised boys (2.68 per 100 person-years vs. 0.59 per 100 person-years)."

[16] Debora MacKenzie; "UTIs could soon be life-threatening without new antibiotics"; New Scientist: February 20, 2017

[17] Also see Matt Richtel; "Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering"; New York Times; July 13, 2019

[18] "Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer"; Centers for Disease Control; August 23, 2018
[19] "Circumcision linked to SIDS"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision; January 11, 2019

[20] Eran Elhaik; "Adversarial childhood events are associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): an ecological study"; University of Sheffield; June 7, 2018

[22] "Circumcising babies increases risk of cot death, contested new study suggests"; Jewish Telegraphic Agency; August 17, 2018

[22] Andrew Gross; "Does circumcision cause SIDS? A point-by-point response to Eran Elhaik’s study"; Circumcision Choice; August 30, 2018

[23] "The Sexual Impact of Circumcision"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision

[24] Kristen O'Hara and Jeffrey O'Hara; "The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner"; BJU International; January 1999

[25] Andrew Gross; "Sex as the researcher intended it"; Circumcision Choice; April 14, 2018

[26] Jennifer A Bossio et al; “You either have it or you don’t: The impact of male circumcision status on sexual partners”; Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality; 2015

[27] Shen Z, et al;  "Erectile function evaluation after adult circumcisionZhonghua Nan Ke Xue; 2004

[28] . J.N. Krieger, et al; "Adult Male Circumcision: Effects on Sexual Function and Sexual Satisfaction in Kisumu Kenya"; Journal of Sexual Medicine; 2008

[29] Donald R Taves; “The intromission function of the foreskin”; Medical Hypotheses, pp 180-182; August 2002. George Denniston previously cited this study to show that "circumcision has been shown to increase the difficulty of penetration."

[30] Andrew Gross; "The Styrofoam Vagina"; Circumcision Choice; May 30, 2019

[31] "The Psychological Impact of Circumcision"; Doctors Opposing Circumcision

[32] Andrew Gross; "Does circumcision cause psychological damage?" Circumcision Choice; February 7, 2019

[33] "Summary of Public Comments and CDC Responses to Public Comments for Information for Providers to Share with Male Patients and Parents Regarding Male Circumcision and the Prevention of HIV infection, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and other Health Outcomes"; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; August, 2018

[34] Morten Frisch and Jacob Simonsen, “Ritual circumcision and risk of autism spectrum disorder in 0- to 9-year-old boys: national cohort study in Denmark”; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; January 8, 2015

[35] Also see Ava Neyer; “The problem with articles on autism risks and how to evaluate studies. Or why circumcision is unlikely to increase rates of autism”; The Chimerical Capuchin; January 10, 2015
[36] Niall McCarthy; "America's Most & Least Trusted Professions"; Forbes; January 11, 2019

[37] Torie Clarke; "Lipstick on a Pig: Winning In the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game"; Simon and Schuster; 2006

 

#DoctorsOpposingCircumcision #DOC #LipstickOnAPig #UTIs #SIDS #SexualPerformance #SexualPleasure

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