Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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What is FGM?

Partially or completely amputation of the external female genitalia is a dangerous practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM). Girls under the age of 15 are the most common victims, but it can happen to women of any age.

This cruel tradition has been carried out for centuries in many cultures as a rite of passage into womanhood. However, FGM serves no medical purpose and causes serious physical and psychological harm to its victims.

Some forms of FGM involve removing all or part of the clitoris, while others alter the shape of the vaginal entrance. Typically, the treatment is carried out by traditional healers who lack formal medical training and employ crude implements like razors and knives.

The consequences of FGM can be devastating, including chronic pain, infections, infertility, complications during childbirth and even death. Moreover, it violates fundamental human rights such as bodily autonomy and freedom from torture.

It’s time to raise awareness about this atrocious act and protect millions of girls who are at risk every day.

The Different Types of FGM

FGM, or female genital mutilation, is the practice of mutilating a woman’s genitalia for reasons other than health. The four distinct forms of FGM each carry their own unique dangers.

  • In type 1, the clitoral hood (the skin covering the clitoris) is cut away, either partially or entirely. Clitoridectomy is another name for this kind.
  • Labiaplasty, or Type 2, is the surgical removal of the clitoris and inner labia. Sex and labor may be extremely painful after the operation.
  • Type 3, often known as infibulation, is one of the most severe kinds of female genital mutilation. All external genitalia are removed, and the vulva is then stitched shut, with only a tiny hole left for urination and menstruation.
  • Procedures that prick, pierce, incise, or scrape any area of a woman’s genitalia for reasons other than medical treatment are classified as Type 4.

Although FGM is outlawed in many countries, it is crucial to remember that some communities continue to practice it for cultural reasons..

Causes of FGM

The causes of Female Genital Mutilation are deeply rooted in culture, tradition, and religion. In some communities, FGM is considered a rite of passage into womanhood. It is believed that undergoing the procedure will prepare girls for marriage and motherhood by ensuring their purity and chastity.

FGM is often viewed as necessary to preserve family honor and reputation. Families who do not follow this practice may be ostracized from their community or face social exclusion. This cultural pressure can make it difficult for individuals to speak out against FGM.

In certain cultures, women who have not undergone FGM are seen as impure and unclean. They may also face difficulties finding a husband or even being accepted into their own community. This further perpetuates the cycle of female genital mutilation.

Religion is also a factor in some cases of FGM, although there is no evidence that it is required by any major religious text. Some religious leaders promote the practice as part of their interpretation of faith.

The causes behind FGM are complex and multifaceted. To end this harmful practice requires addressing these underlying cultural beliefs while respecting local traditions and promoting gender equality through education and advocacy efforts.

Symptoms of FGM

Female genital mutilation (FGM) symptoms range from mild to severe, and from one type of FGM to another. Some women may go through extreme pain, bleeding, infection, shock, or even death right away. Some women may experience complications after childbirth or later on, such as urinary tract infections or irregular periods.

A variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have been linked to FGM. Female genital mutilation (FGM) can leave a woman feeling insecure about her body and make it hard for her to build close relationships..

It is important to note that not all women who have undergone FGM will experience these symptoms. However, if you suspect that someone has been subjected to this procedure it is vital that they receive proper medical attention immediately. Doctors are trained to assess for signs of FGM and provide appropriate treatment based on individual needs.

The lasting effects of FGM can be detrimental both physically and mentally for those who undergo it. It’s crucial we spread awareness about this practice in order to prevent future generations from experiencing unnecessary harm.

Diagnosis of FGM

Diagnosis of FGM requires a thorough physical examination by a healthcare provider who is experienced in identifying the signs and symptoms of female genital mutilation. However, due to the secretive nature of FGM, many cases go undiagnosed.

A medical professional will inspect the area around the external genitalia for evidence of injury or scarring during an examination. They might also inquire about any genital operations or injuries you’ve had in the past.

Because of its wide range of manifestations, FGM can be challenging to diagnose. Girls may have experienced either Type I FGM, in which the clitoris is completely or partially removed, or Type III FGM, in which the vaginal entrance is reduced in size and the cervix is completely sealed.

Some victims may also exhibit psychological symptoms that aid in diagnosis, such as sadness, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or erectile dysfunction.

Early detection is key in preventing further harm and providing proper treatment for those affected by this harmful practice.

Treatment of of FGM

The degree and kind of the surgery determine how FGM is treated. Fresh wounds require prompt medical attention to avoid further consequences like bleeding and infection. Any bacterial infections that may arise are typically treated with antibiotics..

For Type I FGM, surgery may be required to remove any scar tissue that has formed around the clitoris. Women who have undergone Type II or III procedures will need more extensive reconstructive surgery which aims to restore their genitalia as close as possible to its original state.

However, despite surgery being available for women who have undergone FGM, it does not reverse all damage caused by this barbaric practice. Physical and psychological scars can remain long after treatment – some women suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even suicide attempts.

It’s important that survivors receive adequate care during recovery from these traumatic experiences. They should be offered counseling services in addition to physical treatment options so they can begin healing both physically and emotionally after this brutal act against them.

Who Performs FGM?

Human rights are being violated when FGM is performed on girls and women. It is frequently performed by traditional practitioners who lack formal medical education and may utilize contaminated tools and methods. In many societies, FGM is carried out by women who have earned respect for their expertise in cultural norms.

In some cultures, the practice of FGM is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood or marriageability for girls. Therefore, it’s usually carried out before puberty or just before marriage. However, there are also instances where adult women choose to undergo the procedure themselves due to social pressure or perceived cultural expectations.

The individuals who perform FGM often do so under dangerous circumstances with minimal anesthesia and without informed consent from the victim. This puts them at risk of infection and long-term health complications such as chronic pain, loss of sexual function or even death.

Despite widespread condemnation by international organizations and governments worldwide against this practice, female genital mutilation persists in many countries around the world. Thus it’s important we continue creating awareness about its devastating effects on girls and women alike while advocating for stricter laws that enforce punishment on those performing this barbaric act.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a harmful practice with no proven health benefits. It’s an old practice that has harmful effects on women’s and girls’ health today.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comes in a wide variety of forms, each with its own set of risks. Chronic discomfort, infections, problems with menstruation and urine, inability to have sexual relations, and even death are all possible outcomes.

It is crucial to offer impacted communities with education and information about the risks associated with FGM. The government should prohibit such behavior and support preventative initiatives.

We have the power to permanently stop this destructive behavior if we work together. There should be a world where no woman has to worry about her safety. Let’s get to work making a world where every girl may feel safe and respected as she develops.

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