Female Genital Mutilation is dangerous – Dr Constantini

Even though sex is meant to be enjoyed by both man and woman, there are some women who have never had the opportunity to experience such pleasure in their whole life.

Aside not enjoying it, some have had to go through excruciating pain constantly making sex undesirable to them.

This is because some parts of their genitals had been cut off and thrown away in a practice called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), usually carried out on girls from birth till about the age of 15 years.

A Specialist Obstetrician Gynecologist with the Women’s Health Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Dixie Constantini, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on Monday explained that the practice though known by many to be dangerous was believed to reduce sexual urge of the girls ensuring that they stayed as virgins till marriage.

Talking about the medical implications of the practice as a person specialised with dealing with issues related to women’s reproductive health, she said it was also meant to make the women for men’s sexual pleasure and so it was still being continued and passed from one generation to the next.

She described the practice, which involves cutting off some parts of the female genital including the labia minora, clitoris and the labia majora, as life threatening and sometimes leading to the death of some of the victims because of excessive bleeding, infected wounds or other reasons.

About the effects of the negative impact on women, Dr Constantini expressed her displeasure about the practice and said aside affecting some women badly during sex, it had also been observed to cause painful menstruation and urination.

She said some girls contracted Urinary Tract Infection, had problems with anxiety or depression because of what they experienced during the procedure.

She said in some cases the entrance of the vagina had to be opened during childbirth while some women had complications such as bleeding and difficult births.

The Specialist Obstetrician Gynecologist disclosed that knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor were used to carry out the procedure with no anesthesia, medicines to reduce the pain or clean the genitals before it was done, making the pain unbearable for the victims.

She said some of the victims contracted tetanus because the tools used were either not sterilised well or not sterilised at all and the procedure usually done under unhygienic conditions and also by people without medical experience. 

She explained “infibulation” which was one of the types of FGM where during that procedure, the outer opening of the vagina was sealed (sometimes through stitching) such that it became narrow.

She disclosed that the outer hole of the vagina was also closed after the labia minora or labia majora was cut and repositioned or the left over tissue was sewn together.

“Sometimes parts of the clitoris were removed too. A small opening was left for peeing and menstrual blood,” she said.

She said the practice did women more harm than good, and so should not be encouraged under any circumstances because it affected women negatively.

 FROM DZIFA TETTEH TAY, TEMA

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