01 September 2011

Female Genital Cutting

Female Genital Cutting
By:Safa Magid

Female Genital Cutting(FGC)
* Also known as: female circumcision & female genital mutilation
* Female circumcision is the term preferred by cultures who practice this custom

FGC -Definition
* Procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious, or other non-therapeutic reasons.

WHO Classification of FGC
* Type 1: Excision of prepuce w/ or w/o excision of all of the clitoris
* Type 2: Clitoridectomy and partial or total excision of labia minora
* Type 3: Infibulation, includes removing all or part of ext. genitalia and re-approximation of remnant labia majora, leaving a small interoitus for passage of urine and menstrual blood

* Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common forms
* Type 1 and Type 2 account for 80% of the cases
* Infibulation accounts for 15% of the cases

* Currently ~ 130 million women and girls have had the procedure
* An estimated 2 million girls worldwide are at risk per year

FGC in the US

* Data from 2000 census suggests:
228,000 women and girls are with or at risk for FGC in the United States
* CA, NY, and MD have the most female immigrants and refugees from countries where FGC is prevalent.
* Occurs mostly in 28 sub-Saharan African countries
* FGC is practiced by Christians, Muslims, and adherents to traditional African religions
* Also practiced in Middle East and Asia

Origins and History
* Origins remain unclear
* FGC practiced in Pre-Islamic Arabia, ancient Rome, and Tsarist Russia
* Female circumcision was discovered in ancient Egyptian mummies in 200 B.C.
* Practiced in the United States until the 1970’s to tx hysteria, lesbianism, and erotomania

FGC and Religion
* Christianity:
FGC is not an obligatory religious requirement
* Islam:
FGC is not an obligatory religious requirement

* Performed between the ages of 5-10, or prior to marriage
* Performed by a member of community who is not a healthcare worker
* Often performed w/o anesthesia
* However in metropolitan areas the use of anesthesia is more common

FGC Procedure
* Performed w/o surgical instruments. Razor blades or other instruments which may or may not be sterile are used
* Depending on socio-economic factors FGC may also be performed in a health care facility by qualified health personnel
* WHO is opposed to medicalization of all types of female genital mutilation.
* Reasons currently practiced:
o Rite of passage to womanhood
o Maintains chastity
o Ensure marriageablity
o Belief that it improves hygiene
o Social pressure to adhere to custom
o Belief that it is a religious requirement

* Prevalence of complications is unknown
* Rate of complications increase with severity of procedure( i.e. women with type III have > complications that women w/type I)
* A study of 120 Somalian women suggests rate of complications are inversely proportional to the age of the child when FGC was performed
* Women who had FGC btwn the ages of 5-8, had more complications than their 9-12 y.o counterparts
* Long and short term complications
* Some women with FGC do not experience complications

Short term complications
* Hemorrhage
* Severe pain
* Shock
* Infection
* Urine retention
* Ulceration of genital region injury to adjacent tissue
* HIV?-Possibly transmitted due to use of unsterilized equipment

Long Term Complications
* Cysts and abscesses
* Post-partum fistulaes: vesico-vaginal
* Keloid scar formation
* Damage to the urethra resulting in urinary incontinence
* Dyspareunia and sexual dysfunction
* Infertility
* Difficulties with labor.

Case Report

* 16 y.o female presents w/severe dysmenorrhea
* PE revealed the absence of a clitoris and fused labia majora with a 1cm opening
* Physicians initially thought pt had corrective surgery for ambiguous genitalia
* Later determined that while visiting Africa with her mother she had FGC performed
* Perinealography revealed:
o Filling of the vagina,urethra, and bladder simulating a urogenital sinus.
o Dilated vagina suggested obstruction

Case Report
* Defibulation procedure was performed
* The patients symptoms of dysmenorrhea eventually resolved

FGC and Obstetric outcomes
* WHO Study

FGC & Length of maternal hospital stay
* FGC and length of maternal hospital stay
o FGC Type I- RR: 1.15
o FGC Type II-RR:1.51
o FGC Type III-RR:1.98

FGC and Mental Health
* Anxiety
* Depression
* Feeling of incompleteness

* Corrective procedure
* Involves division of the fused labia majora with suturing of each labia for hemostasis
* Thus the infibulated scar, which is a flap obstructing the introitus and urethra, is removed
* WHO Indications for defibulation:
* Urinary retention
* Recurrent UTI’s or kidney infections
* Dysmenorrhea
* Dyspareunia or apareunia
* Prior to coitus
* Prior to labor
* It is also reasonable that defibulation can be performed to alleviate any mental health consequences for women who do not meet the WHO indications

Approach to patients with FGC
* Some physicians remain unfamiliar w/FGC & have expressed their shock during PE
* Some women report being reprimanded by physicians for having the procedure done
* Despite the fact the majority had FGC while they were children and were not given a choice

Patients perspective of FGC
* Many pts w/FGC who have immigrated to the West do not feel as if they abused
* Some feel that FGC was done “for them” and not an attack against them

Patients perspective of FGC
* 1st generation pts born in the West who had FGC while traveling abroad often have very different views than their foreign born counterparts
* HC workers may need to modify their approach depending on the pts perspective

Legality of FGC
* U. S. passed a law in March 1997:
* Made performing any medically unnecessary surgery on the genitalia of a girl younger than 18 years of age a federal crime.
* Reinfibulation was not included as a federal crime, so it may be performed with absorbable sutures in a running fashion if a woman chooses the procedure

Resources for pts and HC providers
* African’s Women’s Health Center
o Established in 1999 by Dr. Nawal Nour a Sudanese-American OB/GYN
o Goal of clinic is to provide culturally appropriate holistic care to African women who are refugees who may or may not have undergone FGC
o Defibulation is performed at this clinic

Resources for pts and HC providers
* Website with information about FGC
* Includes fact sheet about FGC and guidelines for healthcare workers
* http://www.who.int/topics/female_genital_mutilation/en/
* http://www.who.int/reproductive-health/publications/rhr_01_18_fgm_policy_guidelines/index.html

Dedicated to all of my sisters who have had FGC.
To those who have suffered physical or mental consequences, I am inspired by your courage and strength.

Female Genital Cutting.ppt


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