Female circumcision/female genital mutilation

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2001 Aug;14(3):109-12. doi: 10.1016/s1083-3188(01)00086-9.


Female circumcision/female genital mutilation (FC/FGM) refers to any alteration of the genitalia by excision or covering of the introitus done for nonmedical reasons. This procedure is widely prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and is traditionally performed on children and young adolescents. FC/FGM is associated with acute and long-term genitourinary and reproductive disorders that may require medical intervention. Due to turbulent economic and political immigration patterns, Western physicians may be called upon to care for children or adolescents from this part of the world. This review explains the procedure and the resultant physical alterations as well as the cultural and historic basis of this ancient tradition. Emphasis is also placed on the elements of culturally competent and compassionate care for young women who have undergone FC/FGM.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Circumcision, Female / standards*
  • Circumcision, Female / trends
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment