14 January 2019

Take 8: Identifying FGM

Clinical Women

There are four types of female genital mutilation/circumcision (FGM/C) which may present particularly among refugee communities.

Dr Jill Benson, a GP affiliated with the University of Adelaide said: “It’s important when you’re seeing someone to document the type of circumcision you are talking about.

Type I of FGM/C is the partial or total removal of the clitoris.

Type II is when some of the labia minora is also removed while Type III Dr Benson refers to as “the really scary one”.

“All of the external genitalia is removed, the clitoris, the labia minora and majora and then the whole area is stitched up. As it scars it becomes completely smooth so there is only a small hole for urine and menstrual flow.”

Type IV is unclassified and can be nicking or small cuts and is most common in South East Asia and parts of South America.

The health consequences of FGM/C can often depend on the circumstances in which the circumcision was performed in. Some of the long term complications include PTSD and vaginal closure due to scarring.

Dr Benson urges if patients are originally from a country which practices FMG and present with recurring urinary tract infections GPs should consider if they have undergone circumcision.

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