The consequences of female circumcision for health and sexuality: An update on the evidence

Department of Population and International Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Culture Health & Sexuality (Impact Factor: 1.55). 09/2005; 7(5):443-61. DOI: 10.1080/14789940500181495
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This systematic review of published sources between 1997 and 2005 shows that female circumcision is associated with some health consequences but that no statistically significant associations are documented for a number of health conditions. This is in part a result of the difficulty of designing studies on the more extensive operations (infibulation). The findings of the analysis can be summarized as follows: statistically higher risks are documented for some but not all types of infections; the evidence regarding urinary symptoms is inconclusive; the evidence on obstetric and gynecological complications is mixed: increased risks have been reported for some complications of labour and delivery but not others, and for some symptoms such as abdominal pain and discharge, but not others such as infertility or increased mortality of mother or infant. Concerning sexuality, most of the existing studies suffer from conceptual and methodological shortcomings, and the available evidence does not support the hypotheses that circumcision destroys sexual function or precludes enjoyment of sexual relations. This review highlights the difficulties of research on the health and sexuality consequences of FGC, underscores the importance of distinguishing between more and less extensive operations, and emphasizes the need to go beyond simple inventories of physical harm or frequencies of sexual acts.

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Available from: Carla Obermeyer, Sep 17, 2014
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    • "Types I and II are the most common forms of FGM, accounting for approximately 80% of procedures , while infibulation (Type III) is performed in about 15% of the cases worldwide [13]. However, such classifications require trained observers and some of the operations performed might not fall precisely into one category or another [14] [22]. Since FGM practices differs greatly between ethnic groups and geographic regions the categories are a helpful effort to bring uniformity to research on FGM. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to explore how women from part of the world where female genital mutilation (FGM) is normative perceive and experience FGM after immigrating to Sweden. Interviews were conducted with eight women from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The women's feelings were ambivalent: though they opposed FGM, on the one hand, because of its negative effects on health, they acknowledged the practice's positive cultural aspects on the other hand. The themes that emerged from the interviews are the role of FGM in ensuring virginity and protecting a family's honor, its role in avoiding shame and enhancing purity, social pressure experienced after immigration, an understanding of FGM as a symbol of the country of origin, and support for changing the tradition. These findings indicate that women originating from communities where FGM is normative live in a context in which the practice is viewed as an important aspect of life even after immigration. More research concerning this complex and deeply rooted cultural issue is recommended.
    Sexual & reproductive healthcare: official journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives 10/2013; 4(3):93-8. DOI:10.1016/j.srhc.2013.04.004 · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    • "g . Obermeyer ( 2005 ) ; Berg et al . ( 2010 ) "
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    ABSTRACT: This is a reply to: Svoboda, J. Steven 2013. "Promoting genital autonomy by exploring commonalities between male, female, intersex, and cosmetic female genital cutting."
    08/2013; 3(2). DOI:10.1080/23269995.2013.804757.
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    • "For those women who perceive their sexual enjoyment to be " normal " and providing them a sense of intimacy, then the credibility of this approach may be questioned. Furthermore, women's sexual enjoyment may differ depending on the type of FGM experienced [6] [24]. Many women in the REPLACE study stated that sexual relations caused them physical and psychological pain, a minority reported that they still enjoyed sexual intimacy with their husbands. "
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    ABSTRACT: With increased migration, female genital mutilation (FGM) also referred to as female circumcision or female genital cutting is no longer restricted to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The European Parliament estimates that up to half a million women living in the EU have been subjected to FGM, with a further 180,000 at risk. Aware of the limited success of campaigns addressing FGM, the World Health Organization recommended a behavioural change approach be implemented in order to end FGM. To date, however, little progress has been made in adopting a behaviour change approach in strategies aimed at ending FGM. Based on research undertaken as part of the EU's Daphne III programme, which researched FGM intervention programmes linked to African communities in the EU (REPLACE), this paper argues that behaviour change has not been implemented due to a lack of understanding relating to the application of the two broad categories of behaviour change approach: individualistic decision-theoretic and community-change game-theoretic approaches, and how they may be integrated to aid our understanding and the development of future intervention strategies. We therefore discuss how these can be integrated and implemented using community-based participatory action research methods with affected communities.
    Obstetrics and Gynecology International 07/2013; 2013:324362. DOI:10.1155/2013/324362