Long term health consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Maturitas. 2015 Jan;80(1):48-51. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.10.009. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises various procedures which remove or damage the external female genital organs for no medical reason. FGM has no health benefits and is recognised to cause severe short and long term damage to both physical and psychological health. Although FGM is primarily performed in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, migration of FGM practising communities means that the health complications of FGM will have a global impact. It is important that health professionals world wide are aware of the damage FGM causes to long term health. In some cases it may be possible to offer interventions that will alleviate or improve symptoms. However whilst there is some high quality research on FGM and pregnancy outcomes, little is known about the effects on gynaecological, psychological and sexual function. Research is hampered by the problems of data collection on such a sensitive topic as well as the practical difficulties of analysis of studies based mainly on retrospect recall. Well planned hospital based studies of the impact of FGM on physical and psychological health are urgently need but are currently absent from the medical literature. Such studies could generate robust evidence to allow clinicians to benchmark clinical effectiveness and high quality medical care for survivors of FGM.

Keywords: FGM; Female Genital Mutilation; Long term health complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology