Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits and is a violation of human rights.

FGM can be classified into four major types:

  • Type 1 – Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris
  • Type 2 – Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora
  • Type 3 – Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal, by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia
  • Type 4 – Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping or cauterizing the genital area.

FGM can cause severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences.

Immediate complications include severe pain, shock, hemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue. More long-term consequences can include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, and an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

World Health Organization • FGM