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Female genital mutilation: the role of medical professional organizations

Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Nov 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Female genital mutilation: the role of medical professional organizations

Bazi T


Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to alteration of the external genitalia of girls without medical benefit. It is estimated by United Nations agencies that 200 million living girls and women have been subjected to different forms of FGM worldwide. Despite the criminalization of the procedure in the vast majority of countries where it is practiced, the decline in the incidence of this ritual is far from satisfactory. Immediate and long-term ill effects are well documented. Most publications of relevance originate from countries outside the map of FGM. In addition, there are major gaps in research related to this issue, considering the magnitude of the problem. International medical organizations and societies should assume their responsibility by providing a platform to professionals engaged in the prevention and treatment of the consequences of FGM, especially those living in the communities where the practice is endemic.

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Archives Blog Review

Female genital cutting: confronting cultural challenges and health complications across the lifespan

Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2015 Jan;11(1):79-94. doi: 10.2217/whe.14.63.

Female genital cutting: confronting cultural challenges and health complications across the lifespan

Farage MA, Miller KW, Tzeghai GE, Azuka CE, Sobel JD, Ledger WJ.


Female genital cutting affects over 140 million women worldwide. Prevalent in certain countries of Africa and the Middle East, the practice continues among immigrants to industrialized countries. Female genital cutting is a deeply rooted tradition that confers honor on a woman and her family, yet also a traumatic experience that creates significant dermatological, gynecological, obstetric and infectious disease complications. Little is known about postmenopausal health in cut women. The international community views this practice as a human rights violation. In addition to genital health complications, the medical community must confront an understudied concern of what happens as this population ages. These challenges must be addressed to provide optimal care to women affected by female genital cutting.

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Archives Blog Original research

The historical response to female sexuality.l

Maturitas. 2009 Jun 20;63(2):107-11.

The historical response to female sexuality.

Studd J, Schwenkhagen A.

London PMS & Menopause Clinic, 46 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8SD, UK.


In the past, medical attitudes to female sexuality were grotesque, reflecting the anxiety and hypocrisy of the times. In the medieval world, the population feared hunger, the devil, and women, being particularly outraged and threatened by normal female sexuality. The 19th century attitude was no better as academics confirmed the lower intellectual status of women, particularly if they ventured into education. The medical contribution to this prejudice was shocking, with gynaecologists and psychiatrists leading the way designing operations for the cure of the apparently serious contemporary disorders of masturbation and nymphomania. The gynaecologist, Isaac Baker Brown (1811-1873), and the distinguished endocrinologist, Charles Brown-Séquard (1817-1894) advocated clitoridectomy to prevent the progression to masturbatory melancholia, paralysis, blindness and even death. Even after the public disgrace of Baker Brown in 1866-1867, the operation remained respectable and widely used in other parts of Europe. This medical contempt for normal female sexual development was reflected in public and literary attitudes. There is virtually no novel or opera in the last half of the 19th century where the heroine with “a past” survives to the end. The wheel has turned full circle and in the last 50 years new research into the sociology, psychology and physiology of sexuality has provided a greater understanding of decreased libido and inadequate sexual response in the form of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This is now regarded as a disorder worthy of treatment.

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Archives Blog Original research

Restless genital syndrome before and after clitoridectomy for spontaneous orgasms: A case report.

J Sex Med  

Restless genital syndrome before and after clitoridectomy for spontaneous orgasms: A case report. 

Waldinger MD, Venema PL, van Gils APG, Schutter EMJ, and Schweitzer DH.


Introduction.  Females despairing of restless genital syndrome (ReGS) may request clitoridectomy for treatment of unwanted genital sensations.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to report persistence of ReGS despite clitoridectomy.

Methods.  Following a clitoridectomy for spontaneous orgasms, a 77-year-old woman was referred to our clinic for persistent unwanted genital sensations and feelings of imminent orgasm. An in-depth interview, routine and hormonal investigations, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and pelvis were performed. The localizations of genital sensations were investigated by manual examination of the ramus inferior of the pubic bone (RIPB) and by sensory testing of the skin of the genital area with a cotton swab.

Main Outcome Measures.  The main outcome measures included sensitivity of dorsal nerve of the clitoris in RIPB and MRI-pelvis.

Results.  Genital dysesthesias, paresthesias, intolerance (allodynia) for tight clothes, aggravation of symptoms during sitting, restless legs, and overactive bladder were diagnosed. Laboratory assessments, and EEG and MRI of the brain were in agreement with aging, but all results were within the normal range. MRI of the pelvis disclosed varices of the uterus and of the left ovarian vein, and a visible scar in the region of the clitoris. Sensory testing of the genital area showed various points of static mechanical hyperesthesia at the left dermatome of the pudendal nerve. Manual examination of the RIPB also elicited the genital sensations at the left side of the vagina at about the 3 o’clock position.

Conclusions.  This patient fulfilled all clinical criteria of ReGS that is believed to be caused by neuropathy of the left pudendal nerve. Clitoridectomy abolished spontaneous orgasms for a great part but not completely, and it did not diminish the typical dysesthesias, paresthesias, and feelings of imminent orgasms that typically belong to ReGS. Clitoridectomy is no optional treatment of ReGS. There is a need for publications of ReGS in general medical journals.

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