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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed. It is carried out for a number of cultural and social reasons in some countries, but no religious text advocates for FGM. There are no health benefits to it.

It may be called other names such as:

  • female circumcision
  • cutting
  • sunna
  • gudniin
  • halalays
  • tahur
  • megrez

It is illegal to perform FGM, and also illegal to take a child to another country to have it done.

Types of FGM

There are 4 types of FGM:

  • Type I — Partial or total removal of the clitoris.
  • Type II — Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora.
  • Type III — Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal.
  • Type IV — All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization

Side effects

  • constant pain
  • pain and/or difficulty having sex
  • repeated infections, which can lead to infertility
  • bleeding, cysts and abscesses
  • problems passing urine or incontinence
  • depression, flashbacks and self-harm
  • problems during labour and childbirth, which can be life-threatening for mother and baby

Getting help

Help is available if you’ve had FGM or you’re worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

If someone is in immediate danger, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.

  • If you’re concerned that someone may be at risk, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or
  • If you’re under pressure to have FGM performed on your daughter, ask the school nurse or GP for help, or contact the NSPCC helpline.
  • If you’ve had FGM, you can get help. Contact your GP for further information