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Review

Immediate Health Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) [Internet]

Oslo, Norway: Knowledge Centre for the Health Services at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH); 2014 Mar. Report from Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (NOKC) No. 08-2014.
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Review

Immediate Health Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) [Internet]

Rigmor C. Berg et al.
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Excerpt

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) has been performed in various forms for millennia and involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. In this systematic review we addressed harm occurring during the cutting or alteration modification process and the short-term period. We included 56 observational studies that documented immediate complications. There were 14 studies in which two or more groups of girls and women with different types of FGM/C were compared with regards to the occurrence of one or more acute complications. There are three main findings:The most common immediate FGM/C complications were: pain, excessive bleeding, swelling, problems with wound healing, urine retention.The girls and women undergoing FGM/C often suffered more than one immediate complication.There were few differences in risk of immediate complications among different types of FGM/C, but there might be a greater risk of immediate complications for women with FGM/C type III (infibulation) compared to types I-II. There was evidence of under-reporting of complications. However, the findings show that the FGM/C procedure unequivocally causes immediate, and typically several, health complications during the FGM/C procedure and the short-term period. Each of the most common complications occurred in more than one of every ten girls and women who undergo FGM/C. The participants in these studies had FGM/C types I through IV, thus immediate complications such as bleeding and swelling occur in setting with all forms of FGM/C. Even FGM/C type I and type IV 'nick', the forms of FGM/C with least anatomical extent, presented immediate complications. The results document that multiple immediate and quite serious complications can result from FGM/C. These results should be viewed in light of long-term complications, such as obstetric and gynecological problems, and protection of human rights.

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