Female Genital Mutilation – Experience of The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Feb 1999, 39(1) 50–54

Female Genital Mutilation – Experience of The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne

Knight R, Hotchin A, Bayly C, Grover S


This study was performed to improve our knowledge and understanding of the needs of women affected by female genital mutilation. We looked at the types of complications of these practices which present to a large metropolitan women’s hospital in order to determine how we can appropriately treat and support affected women. This was an observational study of women from countries with a high prevalence of female genital mutilation who presented to the Royal Women’s Hospital between October, 1995 and January, 1997. Fifty one patients with a past history of female genital mutilation who were attending the hospital for antenatal or gynaecological care consented to participate in the study. We found that 77.6% of women identified as having had female genital mutilation had undergone infibulation. More than 85% of the women in our study reported a complication of the procedure. The major complications were dyspareunia, apareunia and urinary tract infections; 29.4% of these women required surgery to facilitate intercourse. In our study group there was no difference in Caesarean section rates between the women who had previously delivered in Australia compared with those who had delivered in Africa. Women who have had a female genital mutilation procedure have specific needs for their care which present challenges to both their general practitioners and obstetrician/gynaecologists. These women have significant complications related to their procedure including social and psychosexual problems which require sympathetic management.

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