Women health

5 ways female genital mutilation harms women's and girls' health

Dr. Kenza Aden, a medical practitioner in Djibouti, remarked, "I have met numerous women who have suffered greatly during labor." This is because the majority of her patients have had female genital mutilation, which affects roughly 78 percent of girls and women in Djibouti aged 15 to 49. (FGM).

She went on to say, "I've even seen women bleed to death." “That's why I'm afraid of getting married and starting a family.”

Dr. Aden is a victim of FGM, which is the practice of removing part or all of a woman's external genitalia or injuring her genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is a sign of deeply established gender inequality that is practiced over the world and affects 200 million women and girls alive today.

Every woman and girl has the right to the best health care available. Those who are subjected to FGM are denied this fundamental right, as well as a slew of other human rights that FGM infringes on.

FGM has numerous negative effects on the health of girls and women.

1. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a potentially fatal injury.

When females are cut, they are in danger of hemorrhage, shock, major injury, a variety of illnesses, and even death, depending on how severe the hemorrhage or infection is.

Rhobi Samwelly, a Tanzanian human rights campaigner who was cut at the age of 13, says she was bleeding so badly she blacked out and everyone feared she was going to die.

She recounted, "I was unconscious for three hours." "I'm not sure her brain will wake up fully," a woman said. Rhobi's buddy had bled to death the year before after being subjected to FGM.

When unsterile or rusted tools are used to cut girls' flesh, infection and tetanus are a possibility, with the risk being especially high when the same tool is used to cut many girls.

2. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is never safe or useful when performed by medical professionals.

FGM maybe performed by health care providers such as community health workers, midwives, nurses, or doctors in some regions. It might even be included in a basic bundle of newborn girl care for new parents.

According to the UNFPA, one out of every five girls who have been subjected to FGM has had her hair cut by trained health care practitioners, and in some countries, this number is even higher.

It's more then three out of every four. Musicalized FGM is most prevalent in Sudan, where midwives are the primary practitioners, and Egypt, where doctors are the primary practitioners. Medicalization of FGM is expanding in seven of the eight nations where over 10% of girls exposed to FGM are cut by health care workers.

Musicalized FGM may or may not involve the use of anesthetics or a sterile setting. However, this does not make it safe or healthy for girls. It's still a heinous crime with a slew of terrible short- and long-term health consequences — and no medical justification.

FGM is performed by trained health professionals who violate girls' and women's rights, as well as harming them, in violation of medical ethics' core principles.

Meanwhile, medicalization may perpetuate this human rights violation by giving FGM a false sense of security or validity because to the authority, power, and respect offered to medical practitioners.

3. Female genital mutilation (FGM) can result in major health issues and suffering for the rest of one's life.

Scarring, cysts, abscesses, other tissue damage, infertility, and increased susceptibility to infections are common long-term health implications for girls and women undergoing FGM. When they menstruate, urinate, or have sexual intercourse, they may have difficulty and pain.

Women who have had their labia cut and sewed together to dramatically narrow the vaginal the opening must have their labia cut open again to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth. Urinary retention is a typical side effect of infibulation, and some people have compared the intense pain they feel every time they urinate to salt being rubbed into an open wound.

4. FGM can result in life-threatening complications during childbirth

During childbirth, FGM can create serious, even life-threatening difficulties. Scar tissue may not expand far enough to accommodate a newborn, making delivery more painful than usual and increasing the likelihood of a Caesarean section or other emergency procedures.

Women who have had FGM are more likely to experience prolonged, obstructed labor. If not treated promptly, Obstructed labor can result in a crippling obstetric fistula and put both mother and baby at risk of death. Women who have had infibulation – whose scars have had to be cut open for sexual intercourse and now to give birth – are at the highest risk of having a protracted and obstructed labor.

Several of the countries with the greatest incidence of FGM also have among of the world's highest maternal death rates.

5. Female genital mutilation (FGM) can have long-term effects on the mental health of girls and women.

FGM can have a catastrophic and long-term psychological impact.

Parents who insisted on FGM on their daughters may feel horribly betrayed. Dr. Aden reflected on her experience of being cut at the age of six, saying, "I felt so much resentment against my mother." “I felt cheated since no one told me anything.”

Loss of trust and confidence in young children can lead to behavior issues as well as psychological distress. As girls grow older and marry, the sexual dysfunction caused by FGM may cause marital difficulties.

FGM can also leave major psychological scars in the long run. Anxiety, depression, memory loss, sleep difficulties, and post-traumatic stress disorder may affect girls and women who have been exposed to it (PTSD).

Malika, a young mother from Ethiopia's Afar region, remarked, "I am now a dead person," after detailing the pain and trauma she experienced when she was cut, on her wedding night, and again when she gave birth.

Malika's experience convinced her that she would not expose her daughter to FGM. However, between now and 2030, 68 million more girls around the world are in danger of FGM.

The global world will gather in Nairobi in November for the 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) to accelerate efforts to advance sustainable development by improving sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment.

The elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices that jeopardize the health and rights of women and girls is at the forefront of this agenda.

Meanwhile, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is working in 17 high-prevalence countries to accelerate action to end the practice by combining protection and care services, advocacy, and community engagement to change the social norms that perpetuate FGM.

And 68 million girls rely upon swift action to maintain their physical well-being, protect their health, and pr

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