Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) involves medically unnecessary cutting of parts or all of the external female genitalia. It is outlawed in the United States and much of the world but is still known to occur in more than 30 countries. FGM/C most often is performed on children, from infancy to adolescence, and has significant morbidity and mortality. In 2018, an estimated 200 million girls and women alive at that time had undergone FGM/C worldwide. Some estimate that more than 500 000 girls and women in the United States have had or are at risk for having FGM/C. However, pediatric prevalence of FGM/C is only estimated given that most pediatric cases remain undiagnosed both in countries of origin and in the Western world, including in the United States. It is a cultural practice not directly tied to any specific religion, ethnicity, or race and has occurred in the United States. Although it is mostly a pediatric practice, currently there is no standard FGM/C teaching required for health care providers who care for children, including pediatricians, family physicians, child abuse pediatricians, pediatric urologists, and pediatric urogynecologists. This clinical report is the first comprehensive summary of FGM/C in children and includes education regarding a standard-of-care approach for examination of external female genitalia at all health supervision examinations, diagnosis, complications, management, treatment, culturally sensitive discussion and counseling approaches, and legal and ethical considerations.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.