FGM/C has no health benefit to girls or women.
FGMC is a practice that is passed down through generation of women and families. It is performed by women who often play other central roles in their communities, such as attending childbirths. Most do not have any medical training. In these cases, instruments used to perform FGM/C are often unsterilised and no anaesthetic is used. In some countries such as Sudan and Egypt the practice is also performed in private clinics by doctors and nurses.
Women and girls experience a variety of health issues from FGM/C. Some will have severe and life-long physical and mental health problems while others may not feel that FGM/C has affected their health.
Immediate and short-term health complications can include:
- bleeding (which can be fatal) and extreme pain
- infection and inability to pass urine
- psychological trauma
Common ongoing and long-term health complications include:
- menstrual problems
- recurrent urinary and kidney infections
- difficulties having sexual intercourse including extreme pain and sexual dysfunction
- difficulties during labour and birth (Caesarean birth is common)
- recurrent cysts and abscesses that can lead to chronic pelvic inflammation and long-term pain
- incontinence, prolapses and fistulas
- difficulty in using some contraceptive methods
- long-term psychological effects including depression, loss of sleep, nightmares and post-traumatic stress.