Archives Blog News

On MeSH: Have Female Genitalia Fallen into Oblivion?

J Sex Med. 2013 Oct;10(10):2605-6. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12264.LME

On MeSH: Have Female Genitalia Fallen into Oblivion?

Martinez Pérez G, Shah S

Department of Physiatry and Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.


…We could write to the MeSH section staff and propose a defi- nition. However, if we scrutinize each one of the ethnic groups in the world, we will come to different conclusions on what “clitoris” means. One can attempt to name a few. The clitoris is that part of the female genitalia that Rwandese men call rugongo and have to strike with the glans of the erect penis during sexual foreplay [3]. In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the clitoris is that part of the body where women perform cuttings and rub “love medicines” on the scars, aiming to increase desirability [4]. Since Mosotho women in Lesotho are aware of the importance of the clitoris in sexual pleasure, some girls consider the clitoris to be a part of their body they would prefer to elongate—instead of attempting to elongate their labia minora [5]. The clitoris is also what Somali girls have excised because it is thought of as the male part of the female body, which needs to be removed in order to humanize a woman [6]. This belief should not be foreign to Westerners; in 1561, the Italian botanist Gabrielo Fallopio established an analogy between the penis and the clitoris, and it was not until 1987 that somebody—the psychologist Josephine Lowndes Sevely—argued that these organs were not similar at all [2]!…

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Archives Blog Original research

Ethical concerns in female genital cutting.

Afr J Reprod Health. 2008 Apr;12(1):7-16.FREE

Ethical concerns in female genital cutting. [Article in English, French]

Cook RJ.


Un souci éthique initial consiste à savoir comment appeler au juste ce que l’organisation mondiale  de la santé (OMS) a décrit comme:

Toutes les procédures qui impliquent l’enlèvement partiel ou complet des organes génitaux externes de la femme et/ou la blessure infligée aux organes génitaux pour des raisons culturelles ou d’autres raisons  non-therapeutiques.

Un nom qu’on emploie communément y compris par l’OMS elle-même, est la « mutilation génitale féminine », mais cette description peut être éthiquement inappropriée. De manière descriptive, le mot « mutilation » peut être exagéré, parce qu’il n’arrive pas à faire la distinction entre les quatre types d’incision génitale reconnue par l’OMS. Comme évaluation, le nom n’est pas une description neutre, mais un jugement grossement sévère, puisqu’il condamne ceux qui recherchent, autorisent et réalisent telle incision comme des mutilateurs des êtres humains.  Culturellement, le nom manque de respect, parce qu’il ne respecte pas la motivation avec laquelle ceux qui demandent la procédure pour leurs filles agissent.  Sur le plan personnel, encore une fois, le nom manque de respect, parce qu’il dit aux femmes qui ont subi les procédures qu’elles ont été mutilées par leurs parents ou par des membres de leurs familles.  Au sein des communautés dans lesquelles la pratique prédomine, elle est décrite par le mot qui signifie la purification. Dan certaines communautés, la purité est une condition pour le mariage d’une jeune fille, qui s’avère essentielle pour l’avenir des filles là où les femmes célibataires n’ont pas d’opportunités.  Une étude menée par l’OMS qui porte des critiques sur la procédure a conclu que…

This article can be accessed in this LINK.

Archives Blog Original research

When cultures collide: female genital cutting and U.S. obstetric practice.

Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Apr;113(4):931-4. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181998ed3.

When cultures collide: female genital cutting and U.S. obstetric practice.

Rosenberg LB, Gibson K, Shulman JF.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.


CASE: A 28-year-old primigravida at 41 weeks of gestation, previously unregistered, presented to a tertiary care Labor and Delivery unit reporting painful uterine contractions 7 minutes apart. The patient, a recent immigrant from a Northeastern African country, was accompanied by her extended family. She promptly disclosed that as a 10-year-old she underwent genital cutting in her country of origin.

Physical examination revealed the results of Type III female circumcision, or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora, and infibulation, or sewing together, of the labia majora. The prepuce and body of the clitoris were completely absent. In addition, the external urethral orifice was not visible due to extensive scar tissue overlying the infibulation. The scar tissue was pale gray, avascular, and extended almost the entire length of the labia majora, leaving a relatively small opening. As active labor continued, it became clear that the constricted opening would not allow for fetal descent. The obstetrician in attendance subsequently performed a midline episiotomy through the perineal body. A healthy male neonate was delivered. During the postpartum examination, the obstetrician identified extensive lacerations as well as an almost total separation of the previously fused labia majora.

The obstetrician explained the reasoning for midline episiotomy repair to the patient and her sister, who was continuously at the bedside. The obstetrician also informed the patient that the infibulation separated. As the obstetrician began repairing the internal lacerations, the patient insisted that the labia majora be sewed back together (reinfibulation). Although the obstetrician explained the risks of poor wound healing and infection from suturing a devascularized tissue plane, the sister emphasized the importance of infibulation in their culture and the need to have the circumcised anatomy restored. After careful consideration, the obstetrician performed a repair of the lacerated tissue, including a partial reinfibulation.

This article can be purchased in this LINK.

Archives Blog Original research

Labial Elongation in the Shona

The Central Africa Journal of Medicine. July 1969 15 (7):165-166FREELME

Labial Elongation in the Shona

Williams J


It is a common medical observation that most Shona women have elongated labia minora. Upon external vaginal examination these usually pre~ent as two contiguous bundles of gathered, shrIvelled, loose skin tissue. By including a labial measurement with routine antenatal pro- cedures, the extent of this enlargement was estimated in a series of rural Shona patients…

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Archives Blog Original research

[Female cosmetic genital surgery: Point-counterpoint]

Gynecol Obstet FertiL. July-Aug 2012 40(7–8); 445–448

Que penser de la génitoplastie cosmétique féminine aujourd’hui ?

[Female cosmetic genital surgery: Point-counterpoint] [Article in French]

Colson M.H.


Cosmetic genitoplasty interventions, and especially reduction nymphoplasties, now seem to attract more and more patients, mainly among the younger who are more influenced by widely publicized pornographic than by anatomic reality they hardly suspect. However, they must be informed and warned against the trivialization of a still young surgery, insufficiently justified validated and supervised, especially on the psychological level, and with many unresolved ethical issues.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Archives Blog News

Rehnstrom: Female Genital Mutilation

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Oct;171(4):1160.

Female genital mutilation.

Rehnstrom J.

Comment on: Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Dec;169(6):1616-8.

There is no abstract available.

No LINK to view this letter online.