FGM is often carried out without anaesthetic and usually by a woman with no formal medical training using a knife or razor.
Short term implications include:
- Severe pain and shock
- Excessive bleeding
- Difficulty going to the toilet due to swelling and pain
Long term risks include
- Chronic pain
- Infection, particularly of the reproductive and urinary tracts
- Abscesses, painful cysts or keloids (excessive scar tissue formed at the site of the cutting)
- Menstrual (period) problems
- Difficulties when giving birth and danger to the new born baby
- Increased risk of HIV infection due to the risk of bleeding during intercourse
- Psychological consequences such as anxiety, depression, memory loss or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because FGM is illegal, women and girls who develop health problems after having FGM may avoid hospitals and doctors. However, the health consequences of FGM can be very serious, so it is important that victims seek help from a trained professional.
Need to speak to someone?
If you need further advice, or if this page hasn’t answered your questions then get in contact with your local bSHaW Sexual Health Clinic for a friendly chat.
Call 0300 303 2880 to book an appointment or use our service finder to locate your nearest clinic.