FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)

 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.

Forms

There are four main types of FGM:

  • Type I (clitoridectomy) – removing part or all of the clitoris.

  • Type II (excision) – removing part or all of the clitoris and the inner labia (lips that surround the vagina), with or without removal of the labia majora (larger outer lips).

  • Type III: The most severe form, it is also known as infibulation or pharaonic type. The procedure consists of narrowing the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or labia majora, with or without removal of the clitoris. 

  • Other harmful procedures to the female genitals, including pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping or burning the area.

 

Health Risks of FGM

There are no health benefits to FGM and it can cause serious harm.

 

Considering the clumsy and un-hygienic conditions under which female genital mutilation is usually performed, complications are frequent and numerous and can be classified in the order in which they are likely to occur.

Why is FGM performed?

In every society in which it is practiced, female genital mutilation is a manifestation of deeply entrenched gender inequality. Where it is widely practiced, FGM is supported by both men and women, usually without question, and anyone that does not follow the norm may face condemnation, harassment and ostracism.

Treatment for FGM (deinfibulation)

Surgery can be performed to open up the vagina, if necessary. This is called deinfibulation.

 

It's sometimes known as a "reversal" although this name is misleading, as the procedure doesn’t replace any removed tissue, and will not undo the damage caused. However, it can help many problems caused by FGM.

 

Surgery may be recommended for:

  • women who are unable to have sex or have difficulty passing urine as a result of FGM

  • pregnant women at risk of problems during labour or delivery as a result of FGM

 

 

 

 

Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated February 10, 2017.

To learn more, click on 

https://www.staywellworld.org/post/2017/02/10/dangers-of-female-genital-mutilation-fgm

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