Lesson 7 Female genital mutilation

  • Understand what female genital mutilation(FGM) is
  • Understand the different types of FGM
  • Understand the health issues caused by FGM

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is injuring or partially or completely removing the external genitalia of a woman.
Sometimes it is also called female cutting or female circumcision.
It is a traditional and harmful practice in some cultures without medical reasons.
FGM is dangerous for the physical and mental health of girls and women and violates their human rights.

  • Type 1: Partial or complete removal of the visible part of the clitoris
  • Type 2: Partial or complete removal of the clitoris and the inner and/or outer labia
  • Type 3: Narrowing the vaginal opening by removing and sometimes stitching the inner labia and/or outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris
  • Type 4: Any other harmful practices to the female external genitals without medical reason (e.g. incising, piercing, pricking, scraping and cauterizing).

Image copyright Sensoa (Zanzu.be)

A woman laying on her back with her legs spread.

  1. Outer labia
  2. Inner labia
  3. Opening of the vagina
  4. Clitoris.

The urinary meatus (5) and anus (6) are not part of the sexual organs.

FGM type 1: clitoris is removed

FGM type 2: clitoris and labia are removed

FGM type 3: labia are stitched together

Image copyright Sensoa (Zanzu.be)

  • Pain, bleeding, swelling, wound healing problems, fever
  • Infections and diseases
  • Urinary, vaginal and menstrual problems (pain, discharge, infections)
  • Sexual problems (pain during intercourse, low sexual desire and satisfaction)
  • Difficulties during childbirth
  • Psychological problems (fear, stress, trauma that could lead to shock)
  • Severe problems can cause death

FGM is illegal in Europe!

If you have undergone female genital mutilation or you are afraid that it will be done, you can contact a specialized organization that can help you.
With your general doctor you can talk about any subject. Your doctor will help you to find the right healthcare.

Hear more about Female Genital Mutilation in this video:

Chapter 1: Summary 

  • To understand the female reproductive system and its function
  • What is contraception and the different methods of contraception
  • What a pregnancy is and what is important during your pregnancy 
  • How you can give birth and the signs of the start of your labour
  • What is cervical cancer 
  • What is breast cancer
  • What is female genital mutilation