Objective: The current study aims to evaluate the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) among preparatory school students and its relation to menstrual disorders in Beni-Suef, Upper Egypt.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study had been conducted on 860 preparatory school female students attending two public schools in the rural area in Beni-Suef city at the beginning of the second term of the academic year 2016/2017. They were interviewed and asked to fill out a questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics, questions about FGM/C, beliefs of girls about the justifications used for FGM/C, and the sources of information girls used to get knowledge about FGM/C. Also, the gynecological symptoms, mainly dysmenorrhea, and other menstrual disorders during the past 12 months, and the pain relief methods used by girls throughout the same period were reported.
Results: Out of the 860 participating girls, 78.8% were circumcised. No difference between circumcised and the uncircumcised girls regarding the socio-demographic characteristics or gynecological data (p>0.05). Family and friends were the primary sources of knowledge about FGM/C. Around half of the circumcised girls had justifications for FGM/C; mainly religious and traditional (p=0.000). Dysmenorrhea, backaches and generalized aching were highly incident amongst the girls with no association between these symptoms and FGM/C (p>0.05).
Conclusions: FGM/C is highly prevalent among school girls in rural areas. Religious and social issues are among the most potential risk factors for FGM/C. Further research should focus on changing attitudes of all family members, renewing the religious speech, and empowering young girls to stand against FGM/C.