The hideous and cruel practice of cutting off the genitals of girls at a very young age for no medical reason is disgusting and painful at the same time. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) still continues to haunt many young girls and women who’ve been through it and continues to happen in many countries.
The purpose of cutting off the clitoris of a young girl is to take control over her sexuality. It is cut off so that a girl does not wish to lose virginity before marriage. This practice is outright a human rights violation of girls and women who go through so much pain and serious health hazards for male dominant society.
On this, World Health Orgnization stated, “The International Day of Zero Tolerance for female genital mutilation (FGM), provides an opportunity for all stakeholders involved in ending FGM to celebrate achievements, advocate for abandonment of the practice and raise awareness.”
OnlyMyHealth interacted with Dr Shweta Gupta, Senior Consultant in Obs & Gynae and IVF Specialist at Bloom clinic for Women, Delhi, to understand the health hazards women or girls can go through after FGM.
When asked about what is FGM, Dr Gupta said, “FGM is when parts of a girl’s private parts are cut or hurt for reasons that are not medical. It usually happens when girls are very young, like babies or teenagers. They don’t agree to it, and it’s done in places like Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia. In India, certain communities practice FGM, although it’s not as widespread. Girls undergo genital cutting typically between the ages of six and twelve. This practice is often carried out in secrecy and without the consent of the girls. It can have serious physical and emotional effects on their health and well-being.”
Effects On Vaginal Health?
Explaining the effects of FGM on vagina and urine, Dr Gupta said, “FGM can have significant adverse effects on vaginal health. The procedure can cause severe pain, bleeding, and infection. Scar tissue formation may lead to chronic pain, difficulty in urinating, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Additionally, depending on the extent of the mutilation, sexual intercourse can be extremely painful or even impossible, leading to sexual dysfunction and decreased sexual satisfaction.”
Effects On Pregnancy And Childbirth
When asked about what a woman who has been through FGM goes through during pregnancy and childbirth, Dr Gupta said, “FGM can have serious implications for pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have undergone FGM are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including prolonged labor, obstetric tears, and postpartum hemorrhage. The risk of infant mortality is also higher among babies born to mothers who have undergone FGM.”
Imagine, after going through all the pain with UTIs and vaginal infections, a woman had to go through these many complications. It is saddening.
Adverse Effects Of FGM
There are numerous adverse effects of FGM and can be immediate and long-term. While explaining, Dr Gupta said, “Immediate physical complications include pain, infection, difficulty with urination, and difficulty with sexual intercourse. Long-term physical complications may include chronic pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction.”
Effects On Mental Health
Physical pain is not the only gift a woman gets to fulfill the desires of the male dominant idea of cutting off genitals. Mental trauma is a consolation prize. It comes hand in hand with that haunting experience and dreadful pain. Talking on effects on mental health, Dr Gupta said, “The procedure is often very upsetting, especially if it’s done without giving any medicine to stop the pain and without the person saying it’s okay. Women who have had FGM might feel very anxious, sad, or have scary memories afterwards. It can also make them feel ashamed or left out, which can make their mental health even worse. And because FGM can cause ongoing physical problems like pain and trouble with sex, it can make their mental health even harder to deal with. Additionally, FGM can result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Women who have undergone FGM may also experience low self-esteem, and a sense of violation.”