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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    • "Approximately one-third of infertility cases are due to the male factor, one-third to the female factor and the remaining third to a combination of male and female factors or to unidentified causes [51]. In settings with poor access to health services, common causes of infertility are post-partum and post-abortion infections, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) [52]. Infertility can also be a consequence of infections after female genital circumcision [53]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The overall prevalence of infertility was estimated to be 3.5–16.7% in developing countries and 6.9–9.3% in developed countries. Furthermore, according to reports from some regions of sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence rate is 30–40%. The consequences of infertility and how it affects the lives of women in poor-resource settings, particularly in developing countries, has become an important issue to be discussed in reproductive health. In some societies, the inability to fulfill the desire to have children makes life difficult for the infertile couple. In many regions, infertility is considered a tragedy that affects not only the infertile couple or woman, but the entire family. Methods This is a position paper which encompasses a review of the needs of low-income infertile couples, mainly those living in developing countries, regarding access to infertility care, including ART and initiatives to provide ART at low or affordable cost. Information was gathered from the databases MEDLINE, CENTRAL, POPLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and ICTRP with the key words: infertility, low income, assisted reproductive technologies, affordable cost, low cost. Results There are few initiatives geared toward implementing ART procedures at low cost or at least at affordable cost in low-income populations. Nevertheless, from recent studies, possibilities have emerged for new low-cost initiatives that can help millions of couples to achieve the desire of having a biological child. Conclusions It is necessary for healthcare professionals and policymakers to take into account these new initiatives in order to implement ART in resource-constrained settings.
    Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 09/2014; 12(1):87. DOI:10.1186/1477-7827-12-87 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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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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    • "These figures are alarming and clearly depict the magnitude of FGM practices in Kenya. Whether obstetric outcomes and infertility differ in relation to women who have and did not have undergone FGM is unclear due to limited studies and methodological limitations (Obermeyer, 2005; Almroth et. al., 2005; Essen et. "
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    ABSTRACT: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons (WHO). More than 100 million women and girls are estimated to have had FGM worldwide, mostly from the African continent. Every year around 2 million girls are at risk of mutilation. FGM being an inhuman practice, it is a also a violation of child rights. FGM can result into short and long term complications in the women like pain, hemorrhage, urine retention, infection, shock, infertility, menstrual difficulties, problem in pregnancy and childbirth and pelvic infections. Thus this paper attempts to study the differences in the obstetric outcomes and women’s health among cut and uncut women in Kenya. Some of the key findings indicate that Women with FGM are significantly more likely than those without FGM to have adverse obstetric outcomes. Discriminant analysis have been carried out to examine the within group and between group discriminants.
    IUSSP, South Korea; 08/2013
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