Effects of female genital mutilation on women and young girls

Female genital mutilation remains a human rights violation of girls and women.

FGM affects 20 million women. It is the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia for non medical reasons.

Female genital removal is carried out on girls between infancy and 15 years. It is mostly carried out without anesthetic and in some cases, in unhealthy, unhygienic environment.

The sad thing about FGM is that it has zero health benefits and often results in lifelong health problems such as increased risks during childbirth, psychological trauma, loss of sexual pleasures and even death.

In most cases, FGM occur in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but FGM is also practiced in Australia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America.

Female circumcision in Africa is common. Many married women don’t enjoy sex today because they were circumcised.

Reasons for female circumcision vary from culture to culture and from country to country. The purpose of female circumcision also vary.

Short-term health risks of FGM include:

1. severe pain

2. Excessive bleeding.

3. Urination problems or painful urination issues.

4. Swelling of the genital tissue.

5. Infections.

Female genital mutilation in Nigeria

6. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

7. Chronic genital infection with chronic pain, and vaginal discharge and itching. Cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers may also occur.

8. Urinary tract infections. An increased risk for repeated urinary tract infections is well documented in both girls and adult women.

9. Menstrual problems or irregular menstruation.

10. Death can be caused by infections, including tetanus and haemorrhage.

11. Keloids because of excessive scar tissue formation where the cut is made.

12. FGM may affect sexual sensitivity and lead to sexual problems, such as decreased sexual desire and pleasure, pain during sex, difficulty during penetration, decreased lubrication during intercourse, reduced frequency or absence of orgasm.

13. Women who have undergone FGM also suffer from psychological consequences. Studies have shown an increased likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and depression in girls and women who were circumcised.

With all these health risks associated with Female genital mutilation, six States in Nigeria still practice female circumcision.





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