My husband and I agreed to have our first three boys circumcised without question. For the fourth boy (our fifth child), I felt something stirring in my heart against it. I didn't have that much information to back up what I was feeling, so I tried to present my concerns as best as I could to my husband. He felt sure, however, that the Bible told us to circumcise our boys, so we went ahead and circumcised our fourth son in the NICU at the end of his 3-week stay (from being born at 34 weeks). It seemed everything went as well as it could with the procedure and I nursed him and held him close afterwards, trying to calm his painful crying.
Over the course of the next 3 years, our cloth-diapered, circumcised but unvaccinated and breastfed (until 2 1/2 years old) fourth son would have occasional problems with his penis. He would have difficulty urinating once in a while to which we would have to put a warm washcloth over his private area in order to help him urinate.
One night, my son was screaming in pain in front of the toilet. He had a full bladder but was not able to push his urine out. What appeared like a new growth of skin had grown over the opening of his urethra and try as he might, he could not pee. He was in so much pain that he screamed like I had never heard him scream. We tried putting him in a warm bathtub but it didn't work, so we whisked him off to the ER. (Yes, contrary to what some believe, we do appreciate the field of emergency medical care although we approach them cautiously.) It was heartwrenching for me to hear my little guy in so much pain. He screamed in pain the whole 10 minutes to the hospital. In the ER, they inserted a catheter which basically "broke the seal" and he was instantly relieved. He urinated a very large amount of urine for a guy his size and we discovered that he had meatal stenosis. What is that?
According to Medscape:
Meatal stenosis is a relatively common acquired condition occurring in 9%-10% of males who are circumcised.
Because this condition is exceedingly rare in uncircumcised children, circumcision is believed to be the most important causative factor of meatal stenosis.
In a prospective study of circumcised boys, Van Howe (2006) found meatal stenosis in 24 of 239 (7.29%) children older than 3 years, making meatal stenosis the most common complication of circumcision.1
The symptoms of meatal stenosis include:
- Difficult-to-aim (upward deflected), high-velocity (long distance) stream of urine
- Pain upon initiation of micturition
- Need to stand back from toilet or sit during urination
- Burning at meatus
- Blood spots in underwear
- Urgent, frequent, and prolonged emptying of the bladder
Medscape further describes the mechanism behind this condition resulting from circumcision:
In a child who is circumcised, persistent exposure of the meatus to urine and mechanical trauma from rubbing against a wet diaper results in ammoniacal dermatitis, loss of meatal epithelium, and fusion of its ventral edges. This results in a pinpoint orifice at the tip of the glans.
Some people might ask why God would recommend that His people get such a procedure done that carries this risk of complications. And the answer to that is surprisingly simple. You see, the "circumcision" that is done today is very different than the "circumcision" done in Biblical days.
According to Peaceful Parenting:
What we now call 'circumcision' was not performed in the same manner in antiquity. At that time it was a 'cutting of the blessing' - a very small slit made at the end of the penis to allow a few drops of blood to fall...
"Cutting the Blessing" in antiquity was very different than today in modern U.S. culture where we amputate the entire prepuce organ. Hebrews and early Jews made this very small slit in the tip of the prepuce to allow the few drops of blood to be shed as the blood sacrifice of the covenant. The Hebrew words used for the practice are "namal" and "muwl". In Hebrew, namal means 'to clip' - like one would clip the ends of our fingernails. Muwl means 'to curtail, to blunt.' Neither of these words mean "to cut" "to amputate" "to remove" "to cut off," etc. There were very different words in Hebrew to represent 'the cutting off' or 'the removal of.' The difference was obviously clear to people at the time.
You could not possibly amputate the prepuce organ in antiquity and expect the child to live. Even today we deal with a 1-in-3 rate of complications associated with prepuce amputation and approximately 200 deaths per year (in the U.S. alone) due to circumcisionsurgery. At this time in early Hebrew culture, babies would have hemorrhaged if this organ were removed, and if they lived through the blood loss, they would have died of disease.
It is this amputation that predisposes a child to the condition our son has, leaving the meatus to rub against diapers and underwear, causing meatal stenosis.
To me, it seems as though this is a protective healing effort for which the body is trying to protect the unnaturally exposed area after unnaturally removing so much of that protective skin.
The foreskin is a great source of collagen, which is why the beauty industry has taken advantage of it and is potentially one reason why so much is amputated today. They purchase it and use it in their anti-wrinkle/anti-aging creams.
Coriell Institute for Medical Research has neonatal foreskins for sale for $250 if anyone would like to purchase them:
Apparently, the only way to fix meatal stenosis is a procedure called a meatotomy, which is described as follows:
Meatotomy is a simple procedure in which the ventrum of the meatus is crushed (for hemostasis) for 60 seconds with a straight mosquito hemostat and then divided with fine-tipped scissors.
Ironically, I have a saying on my health page--if we start by the medical system, we may find ourselves living by the system. For example, when people express defense against Rev 18:23 that discusses pharmakeia (the use of pharmaceuticals, see my post here for more info), they say that things like Type 1 diabetes and asthma require the use of pharmaceuticals. But we must remember that these things are CAUSED by the use of pharmakeia, either vaccinations, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
(There is a lot of research about Type 1 diabetes, just like many other autoimmune diseases, being initiated by an inoculation which puts the immune system into overload. For instance, one HFFG fan shared that her son got Type 1 diabetes after receiving vaccinations for a missions trip. She was regretful that her son received a lifelong autoimmune illness for the very rare possibility of a very mild illness that he was vaccinated for.)
And now I find that because we started in the medical world by allowing our son to be circumcised, the only alleged cure for him is basically another circumcision--another numb and clip job that will leave his penis further disfigured.(**See update below.)
Now I know there are going to be comments about how this doesn't happen to all circumcised boys, and that's true. The statistics quoted above, as well as the fact that this happened to one out of four of my circumcised boys, state that clearly enough so that we don't need anyone else reiterating that. We do think that wearing cloth diapers may have contributed to this because unlike disposable diapers with chemicals that pull the moisture away from baby's privates, the prefold cloth diapers he wore exposed his private area to wet diapers frequently. But this is just our theory.
My point here is simply that something I was never told could happen from circumcision does, in fact, happen and happen more often than we are told.
The other point here is that we are not told the whole truth about Biblical circumcision vs. modern-day circumcision practices. Debates on this topic focus more on whether or not we, as Christians, should be circumcising our boys. Because that topic can get extremely controversial and I am not here to interpret what the Bible is telling others to do, I would like to simply point out one thing:
Modern-day circumcision carries very real and present risks and is not the same circumcision that was done in the Old Testament.
I post this to provide information to parents seeking it for their babies, so that they might have all of the facts before deciding whether to keep their child intact or to circumcise them. There are additional risks to circumcision that I have not gone into in this article, including immediate complications from the circumcision procedure itself.
For example, read this mama's story of her infant's brush with death after circumcision, something that is actually quite common. http://www.thewholenetwork.org/twn-news/infants-brush-with-death-after-routine-circumcision
From Doctors Opposing Circumcision, you can also read the immediate effects of circumcision here: http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/DOC/statement04.html
And here is a list of all of the nerves, epithelial cells, hormone receptors, and other things that are lost during this kind of circumcision: http://www.cirp.org/pages/parents/lostlist/
I am grateful that before fully knowing this information, my husband and I felt God leading us not to circumcise our sixth child (fifth boy).
As for other parents, I can only encourage you to seek God's wisdom on every single decision you make as parents, and be sure to separate what society is telling you from what God is telling you, and to be able to distinguish between the two!
Thank you for reading about our son's story. I pray that it will help prevent others from going through the same thing.
1. Van Howe RS. Incidence of meatal stenosis following neonatal circumcision in a primary care setting. Clin Pediatr (Phila). Jan-Feb 2006;45(1):49-54.
My husband and I brought this issue before the Lord before the original post was even written. We repented of our decision to have this child circumcised rather than fully seek what God's Word said on the subject and asked that He would heal our son. We knew that another surgery altering our child's genitals would not correct the first wrong, and we knew God was telling us that. So we prayed. God led us to eliminate the cloth diapers and ensure that our child did not sit in wet clothes/diaper for any period of time, long enough to let the area heal. The rest was in God's hands. And He answered our prayers beyond belief. Our child went from being in the ER needing a catheter to urinate one day to, just a few weeks later, being completely healed with a normal urine stream, no infection or swelling, etc. Now, months later, he has NEVER had a problem since. He is completely healed and without any complications or evidence of the original problem (other than the fact that he is still circumcised). Thankfully, before all of this, God directed us not to have our 6th son circumcised. And even though we didn't know better with our 5th, God's grace is so amazing.