Personal experiences of FGM/C can vary. Some forms are more extensive than others and cause greater health risks for girls and women.
The World Health Organisation classifies FGM/C into 4 categories.
Type 1 – The clitoris is partially or completely removed. This involves the removal of the clitoral hood and the skin around the clitoris, as well as the partial or complete removal of the clitoris.
Type 2 – The clitoris and the skin around it are removed. This includes the removal of the labia minora (the inner lips that cover the vagina) and the labia majora (the large skin folds that cover the genital area) as well as the partial or complete removal of the clitoris. This is often referred to as excision.
Type 3 – The clitoris is removed, and the lips of the vagina are pulled tight and sewn together. This process leaves a very small opening at the back for urine, menstrual blood and sexual intercourse. This is called infibulation or pharaonic circumcision.
Type 4 – Various other cutting and injury of the genitals. This can include pricking, piercing, cutting or cauterisation of the clitoris, cutting of the vagina, and introduction of herbs or corrosive substances.