Female cutting, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is a traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia, or other injury to the genitals women, for non-medical reasons.
It is a violation of the human rights of women and girls, which can cause severe pain, infection, bleeding, urinary and menstrual problems, complications during childbirth, as well as psychological and long-term social.
Female cutting is considered a harmful practice by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is banned in many countries. However, it is still practiced in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, due to cultural and traditional reasons, although awareness and prevention campaigns are being carried out to stop it.
Why is female circumcision practiced?
Female circumcision is practiced for various reasons, which can vary according to the cultures and communities where it is practiced. However, these reasons are non-medical and generally relate to cultural and traditional beliefs that are often associated with virginity, chastity, marriage, cleanliness, beauty, and fertility. Here are some of the common reasons why female circumcision is performed:
Control of female sexuality: In some cultures, female circumcision is seen as a means of controlling the sexuality of women and girls by reducing their sexual desire and preserving their virginity until marriage.
Religious Beliefs: In some communities, female circumcision is practiced under religious beliefs, although no religion requires female circumcision.
Rites of passage: Female circumcision is often practiced as a rite of passage for girls, to mark their transition from childhood to adulthood and give them a place in the community.
Beauty: In some cultures, female circumcision is seen as a way to make girls and women more beautiful and clean.
Fertility: In some cultures, female circumcision is practiced to increase the fertility of women and girls.
It should be emphasized that these reasons are not justifiable, and female circumcision is a violation of the human rights of women and girls. It is important to sensitize communities to these issues and encourage them to abandon this harmful practice.
Consequences of female circumcision
Female circumcision can have serious physical, psychological and social consequences for the women and girls who are victims. Here are some of the common consequences of female cutting:
Severe pain: Female circumcision can cause severe pain during the procedure and chronic pain in the long term.
Medical Complications: Female cutting can lead to medical complications, such as infections, bleeding, urinary and menstrual problems, and complications during childbirth.
Increased risk of HIV: Women and girls who have had female circumcision have an increased risk of contracting HIV due to the unhygienic practices used during the procedure.
Sexual difficulties: Female circumcision can cause sexual difficulties, such as pain during intercourse and decreased libido.
Psychological effects: Women and girls who have undergone female cutting may experience anxiety, depression, trauma and other mental health issues.
Discrimination and social exclusion: Women and girls who have undergone female circumcision may be discriminated against and excluded from their communities because of their status as victims.
It is important to note that these consequences are not exhaustive and may vary between individuals and communities. It is crucial to sensitize communities to these consequences and to encourage them to abandon this harmful practice.
Surgical therapy for excision reconstruction
Surgical reconstruction after female circumcision is a procedure that aims to restore the external genitalia and improve sexual function in women and girls who have undergone this harmful practice.
There are several surgical techniques for reconstruction of the external genitalia, which can be performed depending on the extent of the excision and the patient's goals. Common techniques include:
Clitoroplasty: This procedure aims to restore the clitoris, which may have been partially or completely removed during female circumcision. Clitoroplasty can be performed using tissue grafting or clitoral release techniques.
Labiaplasty: This procedure aims to restore the labia minora and labia majora, which may have been removed or reduced during female circumcision. Labiaplasty can be performed using tissue grafting techniques or reconstruction of the lips with existing tissue.
Vaginoplasty: This procedure aims to restore the vaginal canal, which may have been tightened or closed during female circumcision. Vaginoplasty can be performed using tissue grafting or vaginal dilation techniques.
It is important to note that surgical reconstruction is not always possible, particularly if the excision is very extensive. Additionally, this intervention may not be accessible or affordable for all women and girls. A multidisciplinary approach that includes psychological care, medical treatment and social supports may also be needed to help women and girls overcome the physical and psychological consequences of female cutting.
The postoperative period of female circumcision reconstruction can vary depending on the surgical technique used and the extent of the reconstruction. However, here are some things that are commonly monitored during the postoperative period:
Pain control: Pain management is a key part of post-surgery. Patients may be given medication for pain relief and should be monitored for any signs of excessive pain.
Monitor for signs of infection: Patients are monitored for any signs of infection, such as redness, pain or abnormal flow.
Changes in urination and bowel movements: Patients may have difficulty urinating or defecating after the operation due to the swelling and anatomical changes. Postoperative care includes monitoring changes in urination and bowel movements and taking steps to avoid urinary retention or blocked stools.
Healing Control: Patients should take care of the surgical wound according to the instructions given by the surgeon. It is important to keep the wound clean and dry to promote rapid healing.
Regular medical follow-up: Patients should have regular follow-up visits with their surgeon to monitor healing, detect any complications, and discuss postoperative care.
It is important to note that female circumcision surgical reconstruction can be a complex process and requires a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including surgeons, nurses, and psychologists, to provide comprehensive and holistic care .
Results after reconstruction
Results after female circumcision reconstruction can vary depending on several factors, including the extent of the excision, the surgical technique used, the quality of postoperative care, and the expectations of the patient.
Overall, surgical reconstruction can improve the appearance and function of the external genitalia in women and girls who have undergone female circumcision. Results may include restoration of the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora, and/or vaginal canal, as well as improved sexual function.
However, it is important to note that surgical reconstruction may not completely restore the appearance and function of the external genitalia. Additionally, surgical reconstruction cannot always address the psychological and emotional issues associated with female cutting, such as pain, depression, anxiety, and trauma.
It is also important to highlight that not all women and girls can benefit from surgical reconstruction due to the extent of female circumcision or limited access to health care. In these cases, alternative medical and psychological interventions may be needed to help women and girls deal with the consequences of female cutting.
Ultimately, surgical reconstruction cannot reverse the damage caused by female circumcision, but it can help restore the appearance and function of the external genitalia and improve the quality of life for women and girls who have been subjected to this harmful practice.