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Female genital mutilation

Kelly, Elizabetha; Hillard, Paula J Adamsb

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2005 - Volume 17 - Issue 5 - p 490–494
doi: 10.1097/01.gco.0000183528.18728.57
Adolescent and pediatric gynecology

Purpose of review The purpose of this review is to aid the healthcare practitioner in caring for children, girls, and women who have undergone female genital mutilation or who are at risk for female genital mutilation.

Recent findings The bulk of the literature published in the area of female genital mutilation over the past year addresses the laws, social needs, immigration status and assimilation of African women who immigrate into western countries. Clinicians continue to publish case reports of complications and the surgical management of type III female genital mutilation during labor. Additionally, as people continue to try to eliminate female genital mutilation through human rights campaigns and the legal system, they have also become increasingly aware that understanding the motives behind this traditional practice may be an avenue towards change.

Summary The fundamental understanding of female genital mutilation will allow the clinician to address the emotional and physical needs of the children, girls, and women who have undergone this traditional practice or who are at risk for undergoing this practice. This understanding will allow the practitioner to individualize the history and physical examination, and to provide appropriate management with recognition and treatment of complications. Increased knowledge of the laws against female genital mutilation will allow the healthcare provider to educate and advise at-risk girls and women as well as their parents.

aDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

bCincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to Elizabeth Kelly MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, ML 0526, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0526, USA Tel: +1 513 558 5799; fax: +1 513 558 6138; e-mail: kellyea@ucmail.uc.edu

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.