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FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital circumcision, is the traditional, non-medical practice of altering or injuring the female reproductive organs, often by removing all or parts of the external genitalia.

Category of Female genital mutilation into four types:

  1. Type I (Clitoridectomy) is the removal of all or part of the clitoris. This may or may not include removing the prepuce along with the clitoral glans.
  2. Type II (Excision) is the removal of the clitoris along with all or part of the labia minora. This may or may not include removing all or part of the labia majora.
  3. Type III (Infibulation) is the act of removing the inner or outer labia and sealing the wound, leaving only a narrow opening.
  4. Type IV refers to “all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes (piercing, scraping, cauterizing of the genital area).

Myths associated with female genital mutilation

  • Certain cultures value FGM as becoming of age ritual for girls
  • They use it to preserve a woman’s virginity and faithfulness to the husband after marriage.
  • It is also closely connected with some traditional ideals of female beauty and hygiene.
  • FGM may or may not have religious connotations depending on the circumstances.

Effects of female genital mutilation

  • Severe pain
  • Shock,
  • Hemorrhage,
  • Tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection)
  • Urine retention
  • Open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue
  • Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections
  • Cysts, increased risk of infertility
  • Childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • Sexual problems are likely to occur in women who have undergone FGM
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Decreased libido.
  • High maternal and fetal death rate due to childbirth complications.

FGM can have severe negative psychological effects of FGM on women

  • Long-term symptoms of depression,
  • Anxiety,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feelings of fear and helplessness.

Treatment for FGM (de-infibulation)

  1. Surgery can be performed to open up the vagina, if necessary. This process is called de-infibulation. De-infibulation may be recommended for:
  • Women who are unable to have sex or have difficulty peeing as a result of FGM
  • Pregnant women at risk of problems during childbirth as a result of FGM
  • De-infibulation should be carried out before getting pregnant, if possible.
  • It can be done in pregnancy or labor if necessary, but ideally should be done before the last 2 months of pregnancy.
  • The surgery involves making a cut (incision) to open the scar tissue over the entrance to the vagina.
  • It’s usually performed under local anesthetic in a clinic and you will not normally need to stay overnight.
  • A small number of women need either a general anesthetic or an injection in the back (epidural), which may involve a short stay in hospital.

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