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Rapport fra Kunnskapssenteret nr 11 - 2014 - Systematisk oversikt

Gynecological consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)

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Berg Rigmor C, Underland Vigdis. Rapport fra Kunnskapssenteret nr 11 - 2014. ISBN 978-82-8121-864-2 ISSN 1890-1298

1-page key messages

The traditional practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) covers a range of procedures (clitoridectomy, excision, infibulation, and other) performed on the genitals of females of different ages. This systematic review aimed to summarize empirical quantitative research describing the gynecological consequences of FGM/C on girls and women.

We included 136 primary studies, 42 of which compared groups of women who had been subjected to FGM/C with women who had no or different types of genital alterations. The main finding is that FGM/C has harmful consequences for a woman’s gynecological health. We found that:

  • Women with FGM/C seem to be more likely than women without FGM/C to experience urinary tract infection, bacterial vaginosis, and pain during intercourse.
  • There seems to be a trend for women with FGM/C to be more likely than women without FGM/C to experience: burning/painful urination, problems with menstruation, vaginal discharge and vaginal itching. 
  • There seems to be no clear trend for either a greater or lower risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among women who have undergone FGM/C.
  • There were insufficient data for us to conclude whether the risk of other gynecological complications (tissue damage, vaginal adhesions and obstructions, cysts, infertility) is different among women with FGM/C compared to women without FGM/C, and whether various FGM/C types differentially affect the risk of other gynecological complications (except regarding urinary tract infection).

This systematic review found that sufficient evidence exist to conclude that women who have undergone FGM/C suffer a greater risk of gynecological complications than women who have not undergone the procedure. There were no indications of gynecological benefits of FGM/C. Rather, there is a real chance of under-reporting of many of the health issues covered in this systematic review.


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Gynecological consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
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