Circumcision reduces lifetime risk for UTIs

December 31, 2012

Baby boys who are not circumcised face a 10-fold higher risk for urinary tract infection (UTI) in their first year than boys who are circumcised and a 23% increased risk of UTI through their lifetimes.

Baby boys who are not circumcised face a 10-fold higher risk for urinary tract infection (UTI) in their first year than boys who are circumcised and a 23% increased risk of UTI through their lifetimes. The findings are from a meta-analysis of 22 studies that examined the single risk factor of lack of circumcision for occurrence of UTI.

Researchers determined the prevalence and relative risk of UTI for boys aged younger than 1 year, 1 to 16 years, and older than 16 years and from this data calculated lifetime prevalence.

They found the likelihood of UTI between birth and 1 year to be 9.91 times higher in uncircumcised boys compared with those who were circumcised; 6.56 higher for uncircumcised boys aged 1 to 16 years; and 3.41 higher for uncircumcised boys aged 16 and older compared with circumcised men.

Urinary tract infections include infections of the kidneys, bladder, ureter, and urethra and are more common in the first year of life. Adverse effects can include kidney scarring, fever, pain, and septicemia.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that circumcision can reduce the risks for UTI, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer, and that the health benefits outweigh the risk of complications from the procedure. However, AAP leaves the decision whether to circumcise up to the parents of the child.

Morris BJ, Wiswell TE. Circumcision and lifetime risk of urinary tract infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Urol. 2012. Epub ahead of print.