International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2019: From HIV to Death, 13 Dangerous Consequences of FGM on Women’s Health
Female genital mutilation. (Photo Credit: Wiki Commons)

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2019 is observed to spread awareness regarding the grave malpractice, Female Genital Mutilation(FGM.) Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve "altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons" and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The procedure may include cutting, piercing, completely removing, or sewing closed all or a part of a girl's external vagina. The reasons behind this cruelty vary from place to place. While social acceptability is the most common reason, other reasons could include, ensuring the virginity of the woman until marriage, Hygiene, to get rid of the "unclean" clitoris or the labia or both. Some places it is also done so that the woman is considered suitable for marriage and increases sexual pleasures for the man. The malpractice is not only a torturous and unjust but also has serious health hazards.

Take a look at some of the health problems caused by Female Genital Mutilation.

  1. Unbearable pain: Even thought of it is enough to give you a magnitude of pain the girl or woman has to go through. Cutting the nerve ends and sensitive genital tissue can cause unbearable pain, given that anaesthesia is never used. Moreover, the healing process hurts even worse healing period is also painful. The pain only increases with the degree of FGM.
  2. Excessive bleeding(haemorrhage): The injury to the sensitive female genitals can cause the arteries and other blood vessels to cut and cause excessive bleeding. Sometimes excessive blood loss can also cause death.
  3. Infections: Since it is not a medical procedure the instruments used are also primitive and unhygienic. Sometimes they even use the same device for multiple genital mutilation operations. This can cause serious infection, especially during the healing period. The most common type of infections may include, Chronic genital infections, Chronic reproductive tract infections and Urinary tract infections.
  4. Shock: The excessive pain, infection, excessive bleeding or simply the whole procedure can put the girl going through the genital mutilation in shock!
  5. Urinary issues: The cut, injury to the genitalia can cause a lot of discomforts, pain, tissue swelling and urinary retention.
  6. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): the direct association between FGM and HIV remains unconfirmed, although the cutting of genital tissues with the same surgical instrument without sterilisation could increase the risk for transmission of HIV between girls who undergo female genital mutilation together.
  7. Death: Infections such as tetanus and haemorrhage that can lead to shock and can even cause death.
  8. Psychological issues: The trauma related to genital mutilation is a different story altogether. The pain, shock, physical force can make FGM a traumatic experience with long-lasting consequences. Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and depression is very commonly seen among girls and women who go through genital mutilation.
  9. Menstrual problems: Since the vaginal opening is obstructed, FGM may cause painful menstruation, infections, dysmenorrhea, etc.
  10. Keloids: Excessive scar tissues are formed at the area where the cut is made.
  11. Female sexual health:  removal or damage done to the clitoris or other vaginal areas may cause sexual problems. It may cause decreased libido, pain during sex, reduced lubrication, anorgasmia (absence of orgasm)
  12. Obstetric complications: Most girls who have gone through FGM are at the risk of Caesarean section, obstetric tears/lacerations, post-partum haemorrhage, difficult labour, instrumental delivery, recourse to episiotomy, prolonged labour, and extended maternal hospital stay.
  13. Perinatal risks: FGM is highly associated with a higher incidence of infant resuscitation at delivery and intrapartum stillbirth and neonatal death.

The practice has been slammed, and steps are being taken to eradicate the practice. Female genital mutilation significantly critical issue that has been robbing little girls off their dignity and human rights.