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Health risks of female genital mutilation
Health

Health risks of female genital mutilation

Agency News

Kolkata, Nov 9: Female genital mutilation (FGM) has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the practice involves removing and injuring healthy and normal female genital tissue, interfering with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies. It can lead to immediate health risks, as well as a variety of long-term complications affecting women’s physical, mental and sexual health and well-being throughout the life-course.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.

It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types. Type 1: Often referred to as clitoridectomy, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals), and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

Type 2: Often referred to as excision, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).

Type 3: Often referred to as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).

Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area. (UNI)