UTI Risk Up for Uncircumcised Boys Despite Urethral Visibility

Visibility of urethral meatus does not appear to affect risk of urinary tract infection

MONDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Circumcised boys have a significantly lower risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) compared with uncircumcised boys, regardless of the degree of visibility of the urethral meatus, according to a study published online July 9 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

To examine whether the risk of UTI is affected by the degree to which the urethral meatus is visible (phimosis), Alexander Sasha Dubrovsky, M.D.C.M., of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues conducted a prospective, cross-sectional study involving 393 circumcised and uncircumcised boys who visited an emergency department with UTI symptoms.

The researchers found that, among uncircumcised boys, cultures grew from urine samples for 30 percent of those with a completely visible meatus and 23.8 percent with a partially or nonvisible meatus, with an unadjusted odds ratio [OR] for culture growth of 0.73 and an adjusted OR of 0.41. The rate of UTI was significantly lower among circumcised boys (4.8 percent) compared with uncircumcised boys with a completely visible urethral meatus (unadjusted OR, 0.12; adjusted OR, 0.07).

"Our results suggest that uncircumcised boys presenting with clinical symptoms or signs suggesting UTI are at equal risk for UTI irrespective of the visibility of the urethra," the authors write. "Clinicians should continue to use circumcision status alone, not the degree of phimosis, to decide which boys should undergo investigation for UTI."

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