Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (often referred to as FGM) is a destructive operation, during which the female genitals are partly or entirely removed or injured with the goals of inhibiting a woman's sexual feelings. Most often the mutilation is performed before puberty, often on girls between the age of four and eight, but recently it is increasingly performed on nurslings who are only a couple of days, weeks or months old with Garissa County in Kenya's North Eastern Region.
How does FGM affect women's health?
The effects of FGM/FGC depend on the type performed, the expertise of the circumciser, the hygienic conditions under which it is conducted, the amount of resistance and general health condition of the girl/woman undergoing the procedure. Complications may occur in all types of FGM, but are most frequent with infibulation. -
FGM has both immediate and long-term consequences to the health of women.
1. Immediate complications
These include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissue, wound infection, urinary infection, fever and septicaemia. Haemorrhage and infection can be of such magnitude as to cause death
2. Long term consequences
These include anemia, the formation of cysts and abscesses, keloid scar formation, damage to the urethra resulting in urinary incontinence, dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and sexual dysfunction, hypersensitivity of the genital area. Infibulation can cause severe scar formation, difficulty in urinating, menstrual disorders, recurrent bladder and urinary tract infection, fistulae, prolonged and obstructed labour (sometimes resulting in fetal death and vesico-vaginal fistulae and/or vesico-rectal fistulae), and infertility (as a consequence of earlier infections). Cutting of the scar tissue is sometimes necessary to facilitate sexual intercourse and/or childbirth. Almost complete vaginal obstruction may occur, resulting in accumulation of menstrual flow in the vagina and uterus. During childbirth the risk of hemorrhage and infection is greatly increased.
What can we do?
- help raise awareness
- help to implement prevention measures
- raise an alarm
- give towards our fight