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What is female circumcision?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on
Female circumcision

Female circumcision, also called female genital mutilation or clitoral ablation, is widespread in various countries, mainly in Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Arabian Peninsula. However, it is prohibited by the vast majority of countries. . That is why many people may have doubts and not know exactly what it is about.

Female circumcision is a surgical procedure in which a partial removal of a woman’s external genitalia, such as the clitoris or labia minora, is performed. All specialists agree in rejecting female genital mutilation, primarily if it is carried out on girls since it violates their rights, deprives their bodies, and is a dangerous practice. If you want to know more about this traditional process of various communities, in the following FastlyHealarticle, we explain what female circumcision consists of.

Different procedures for circumcision in women

The removal of the female genitalia can follow different procedures and focus only on one structure or cut the folds around it. In general, this practice can be classified into four types:

  • Clitoridectomy is one of the most frequent genital mutilation procedures in women and consists of performing a partial or total resection of the clitoris, the small and more sensitive erectile organ that the intimate female area has. In some sporadic cases, the same procedure may be performed but on the foreskin, that is, the fold of skin that is around the clitoris and that is formed by the upper part of the labia minora.
  • Excision is another type of female circumcision procedure. Partial or total resection of the clitoris and the labia minora is done, the name by which the internal folds of the vulva are known. This technique can occur with or without excision of the labia majora, that is, of the skin folds in the external area of ​​the vulva.
  • Infibulation: it is a technique that consists of narrowing the vaginal opening, sealing it. Then, the specialist usually cuts the labia minora or Majora, and the clitoris may or may not be resected; however, it is more common for the clitoris to be removed.

This last case can be undone using the technique known as defibrillation, in which a cut must be made to eliminate the process carried out previously. In this way, the aim is to reopen the once sealed vaginal opening.

Different procedures for circumcision in women

Consequences of female genital mutilation

Although many communities perform circumcision in women as something frequent, it is not because of the health benefits it can bring since it does not offer any. Instead, it is the opposite. The main characteristic is the substantial reduction of sexual desires, making them unable to experience an orgasm, so a sociocultural approach is followed without considering the dangers that this mutilation can generate in women.

Likewise, there are several short-term consequences that women face due to the removal of the genitals, whether it is total or partial, among which the following can be highlighted:

  • Bleeding
  • Urinary difficulties.
  • Severe pain and fever
  • Lesions in different nearby tissues.
  • Infections such as tetanus or similar.
  • It can lead to death in some cases.

While, in the long term, the most frequent complications in women subjected to this genital mutilation are:

  • Great sexual difficulties such as little satisfaction, pain during sexanorgasmia, among several others.
  • Urinary infections and severe vaginal problems.
  • Problems with the rule become very painful, with little traffic and hardship in the regular route of the blood.
  • They considerably increase complications in childbirth and increase the risk of neonatal death.
  • Numerous psychological disorders include anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.

Countries where ablation is practiced

Although female genital mutilation or clitoral ablation is closely identified with Islam, the reality is that this practice comes from further afield, being able to go back even to ancient Egypt and, although its origin is not known, it is believed that it could be a species Initiative rite typical of some areas of central Asia. However, it is not only limited to the geographical location of ​​Islam or Africa, and female circumcision is documented on most continents.

The United Nations has made the fight against female genital mutilation one of its priority goals for the next decade. They want to achieve the eradication of this practice before the year 2030. Similarly, the African Union is making significant efforts to end this cruel practice. In fact, in just a few years, the percentages of women who have undergone genital mutilation have dropped dramatically. If we compare women who are 15 to 40 years old, wherein many African countries, the percentage of mutilated women exceeded 90%, and those who are less than that age, we can see that the numbers have dropped a lot.

Despite this, the countries where ablation is most frequently performed are the following:

  • Sudan, 32%
  • Mauritania, 54%
  • The Gambia, 56%
  • Indonesia, 49%
  • Guinea, 46%
  • Eritrea, 33%

The percentages indicate the number of girls between 0 and 15 who have undergone female genital mutilation.

Although the reasons why circumcision is practiced in women vary between each region, society, religion, and time that respond to various sociocultural factors, some of the most frequent reasons can be detailed, which are:

  • In societies where female circumcision is the norm, there is fear of rejection, of being excluded, there is pressure from loved ones, and other factors that influence continuing with this type of practice.
  • In some cultures, this genital mutilation is considered indispensable for raising a girl since they see it as a way to prepare for her marriage and an adult woman’s life.
  • On many occasions, circumcision is used as acceptable sexual behavior. In other words, it is used in those cultures in which it is sought that a woman reaches marriage a virgin. At the same time, it is believed that it reduces the sexual desire of women, so it helps to maintain fidelity, avoiding the female temptation to maintain extramarital relationships.
  • Certain societies claim that female genital mutilation makes it much easier to get a husband for a woman.
  • For women to be pure and beautiful, impure parts or those that go against what they consider a model of femininity, that is, the genitals must be eliminated from their bodies.
  • Some religions or rituals encourage you to continue with this type of practice.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is female circumcision, we recommend that you enter our category of the Female reproductive system.

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