Circumcision doesn’t provide as much protection from urinary tract infections (UTIs) as previously thought, according to a new study.
A decreased risk in UTIs is one of the most commonly cited justifications for circumcision of newborn boys. While previous studies have reported rates of UTI to be 10 to 20 times higher in uncircumcised boys, this Canadian study shows the risk is actually much less.
The study followed nearly 60,000 boys (half of whom were circumcised) born in Ontario between April 1993 and March 1994. What they found was that the relative risk of an uncircumcised boy getting a UTI was 3.7, substantially less than previously reported. Put another way, 195 circumcisions would be needed to prevent one hospital admission for UTI in the first year of life (Lancet, 1998; 352: 1813-6).