Published by: Ceylon Medical Journal
Year published: 2018

Female genital mutilation or cutting comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the female external genitalia and or injury to the female genital organs [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies female genital mutilation into four types, with the most severe form involving infibulation of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening [1]. The WHO estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation [1]. The practice is most common in 30 countries in the Western, Eastern, and North-eastern regions of Africa, and in selected countries the MiddleEast and Asia. With increased migration from such countries, health professionals in destination countries are confronted with the challenge of caring for women and girls subjected to it, and mounting responses to inhibit its practice. Female genital mutilation is therefore a global concern, with international human rights treaties condemning the practice as a gross violation of fundamental human rights of girls and women [2]. Extensive evidence shows female genital mutilation to negatively impact on reproductive morbidity and mental health, as summarised in table 1 [3,4]. These range from the trauma of the cutting itself; memory of it; pain and reduced pleasure during sexual intercourse; taking long or being unable to climax; relationship difficulties; and feelings of being violated because the act had been carried out on them as children without consent [4].