Consequences of FGM


FGM consequences are numerous and affect on the individual level the physical and psychological health. The practice has equally a social and economic impact, not only concerning the girl or woman but the whole family, community and society.

The currently available data allow us to give evidence based information only for the health consequences. Research in rather neglected fields are greatly needed in order to better know the real extent of this harmful practice.
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About FGM

Definition of FGM

How does it happen?


Who is concerned?

The role of men

Historical note

Persisting tradition

Zero Tolerance
   Short term health risks
   Mid and long term health risks
  • Severe pain

  • Shock

  • Haemorrhage (excessive bleading)

  • Sepsis

  • Difficulty in passing urine

  • Infections

  • Death

  • Psychological consequences

  • Unintended labia fusion
  • Need for surgery

  • Urinary and menstrual problems

  • Painful sexual intercourse and poor quality of sexual life

  • Infertility

  • Chronic pain

  • Infections (e.g. cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers, chronic pelvic infections, urinary tract infections)

  • Keloids (excessive scar tissue)

  • Reproductive tract infections

  • Psychological consequences, such as fear of sexual intercourse, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression

  • Increased risk of cervical cancer (although more research is needed)

   Obstetric complications
   Conditions associated with FGM (no evidence)
  • Caesarean section

  • Postpartum haemorrhage

  • Extended maternal hospital stay

  • Infant resuscitation

  • Stillbirth or early neonatal death

  • HIV (in the short term)

  • Obstetric fistula

  • Incontinence
  Source: understanding and addressing violence against women, WHO, 2012