Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM)), encompasses a painful and invasive surgical procedure which is usually performed on young women before they reach puberty. The surgical procedure is performed without the use of anesthetics (Circumcision Surgery). It covers all procedures that involve the removing of female genitalia, either partially or completely.
Female Circumcision Procedures
Female circumcision procedures have four main classifications. These are the following:
- Clitoridectomy – This procedure is performed by partially or totally removing the clitoris (Female Sexual Stimulants)– a sensitive and small erectile part of the female genitals (Aphrodisiac Supplements).
- Excision – This procedure involves the partial or complete removal of the labia minora (Labia Minora Wiki Page) and clitoris. Labia refers to the lips surrounding the vagina (Vaginal Surgery | Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery).
- Infibulation – This procedure creates a covering seal to develop a narrow vaginal opening. To form the seal, the outer or inner labia is cut and repositioned.
- Other procedures – These include all other procedures that may harm the female genitalia. Few examples are incising, cauterizing, scraping, piercing and pricking the genitals.
Common Reasons Behind the Practice of Female Circumcision
There are numerous reasons why female circumcision is practiced. The most common reasons are the following:
- Customs and tradition
- Religious beliefs
- To gain social acceptance
- To preserve chastity or virginity
- For hygiene and cleanliness
- To belong to a group
- Fear of social exclusion
- As a means to honor family tradition
- To increase sexual pleasure (Circumcision Effects on Male Sexual Satisfaction) for males
Effects of Female Circumcision
Female circumcision has short-term and long-term effects to the person who undergoes the procedure. Short-term effects and health implications may include infection, severe pain, shock, immediate fatal hemorrhage, injury to the neighboring tissues and urine retention (Female Urinary Retention). It may also cause open sores affecting the genital region. Females who undergo the procedure may experience painful urination (Bladder Pains and Irritants). The procedure can be psychologically or physically traumatic, especially for young girls.
Long-term consequences of female circumcision include extensively damaging the reproductive system, development of infections affecting the pelvis, vagina and uterus, child birth and pregnancy complications, difficulty when menstruating, psychological damage, neuromas and cyst and sexual dysfunction (Female Sexual Dysfunction).
The procedure may also trigger recurrent urinary tract (UTI Antibiotics Learn More) and bladder infections (Bladder Infection Causes | Catheter). There are also those who become infertile due to the procedure. Women who were circumcised, also have a higher risk of suffering from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.