Basic facts about FGM/C
(Source: World Health Organization 2016: WHO guidelines on the management of health complications from FGM)
A. WHAT IS FGM/C?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is also sometimes known as Female Circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
B. WHO IS AT RISK OF FGM/C?
It is estimated that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects of FGM, and despite efforts to eradicate the practice, every year some 3 million girls and women are at risk of FGM and are therefore exposed to the potential negative health consequences of this harmful practice.
C. TYPES OF FGM/C:
WHO classifies FGM into four types
D. REASONS WHY FGM IS PERFORMED
FGM is practised for a variety of sociocultural reasons, varying from one region and ethnic group to another. These include…
E. HEALTH RISKS OF FGM
FGM has no known health benefits, and those girls and women who have undergone the procedure are at great risk of suffering from its complications throughout their lives.
· Haemorrhage( excessive bleeding)
· Genital tissue swelling
· Wound healing problems
|Sexual Functioning Risks
· Dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse)
· Decreased sexual satisfaction
· Reduced sexual desire and arousal
· Decreased lubrication during sexual intercourse
· Reduced frequency of orgasm or anorgasmia
· Genital tissue damage
· Vaginal discharge
· Vaginal itching
· Menstrual problems
· Reproductive tract infections
· Chronic genital infections
· Urinary tract infections
· Painful urination
· Caesarean section
· Postpartum haemorrhage (blood loss <500 ml)
· Prolonged labour
· Obstetric tears/lacerations
· Instrumental delivery
· Difficult labour/dystocia
· Extended maternal hospital stay
· Stillbirth and early neonatal death
· Infant resuscitation at delivery
· Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
· Anxiety disorder
F. WHY IS FGM/C PRACTICED?
The practice – prevalent in 30 countries in Africa and in a few countries in Asia and the Middle East – is now present across the globe due to international migration.
G. FGM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
FGM violates a series of well-established human rights principles, norms and standards,
H. MEDICALIZATION OF FGM
The medicalization of FGM refers to situations in which the procedure (including re-infibulation) is practised by any category of health-care provider, whether in a public or a private clinic, at home or elsewhere, at any point in time in a woman’s life. This definition was first adopted by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1997, and reaffirmed in 2008 by 10 UN agencies in the interagency statement, eliminating female genital mutilation. The interagency statement strongly emphasizes that regardless of whether FGM is carried out by traditional or medical personnel, it represents a harmful and unethical practice, with no benefits whatsoever, which should not be performed under any circumstances.
For more information about FGM/C please visit our FGM/C Resources Page.