FGM significantly reduces sexual quality of life, suggests new study

October 9, 2012

Women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) have a significantly lower sexual quality of life finds a new study published today (10 October) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

FGM is defined as any procedure 'involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia without medical reasons'.

This study, carried out by researchers at King's College London, looks at the impact of FGM on the of life of who have undergone this procedure and compares them to a similar group of women who have not undergone FGM.

Seventy three women who had undergone FGM were compared to 37 women from a similar cultural background. Criteria for inclusion in the study included, women aged 16 or older, women who have undergone FGM, or to be from a cultural background where FGM is frequently practiced but not undergone FGM.

Sixty-three out of seventy-three (86.3 %) of the women whom had undergone FGM were from Somalia, , Nigeria and Eritrea, whereas of the women who had not undergone FGM thirty-two out of thirty-seven (86.49%) were from Nigeria and Ghana.

The women completed a questionnaire containing the Sexual Quality of Life–Female (SQOL-F) questionnaire. This was divided into two parts: part one of the questionnaire asking demographic questions and the second part containing the SQOL-F questionnaire, previously used for measuring sexual quality of life in women with female sexual dysfunction aged over 18 years.

Demographics measured included, age, country of birth, civil status, number of children, smoking status, , self-reported history of depression and type of FGM.

Overall the study found that women who have undergone FGM have a significantly lower overall SQOL-F score. Using the self reported questionnaire, with the highest score being 100, women who had undergone FGM rated their sexual quality of life on average 26.4 points lower than women who had not undergone FGM.

The researchers also conducted further analysis by dividing the total number of women into those who were sexually active and those who were not sexually active. They found that in sexually active women FGM type III is associated with the lowest sexual quality of life scores.

Professor Janice Rymer, Dean of Undergraduate Medicine and Professor of Gynaecology, King's College London and co-author of the paper said:

"FGM is abuse of women and we need to do all we can to eradicate the practice. We can help to do this by educating people about the harm that it causes and this study adds to our knowledge as we show, not surprisingly, that FGM has a detrimental effect on a woman's sexual life.

"FGM is always traumatic and has no known health benefits, and the complications range from bleeding and infection to death. Although the physical complications have previously been reported, the effects on sexual function and satisfaction were poorly understood.

"As a result of high rates of migration of women from nations where this practice is considered commonplace, to areas where it is not, it is important to all multidisciplinary practitioners to have an understanding of the impact of this practice on the women that we provide care for. The effect of a reduced or poor sexual quality of life is likely to have an effect on the general well being of women. It is important to raise the profile of the damage that is caused with regards to sexual function in the hope that this may go some way to eradicating the procedure for future generations."

BJOG Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Pierre Martin-Hirsch, added: "FGM is a harmful and unacceptable practice. This study highlights that it has a lasting impact not only physically but emotionally. It is important that healthcare workers are aware of FGM and with an expansion of the migrant population they may see increasing numbers of women affected."

Explore further: Reconstructive surgery after female genital mutilation reduces pain, improves sexual pleasure

More information: Andersson S, Rymer J, Joyce D, Momoh C, Gayle C. Sexual quality of life in women who have undergone female genital mutilation: a case–control study. BJOG 2012; DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12004

Related Stories

Reconstructive surgery after female genital mutilation reduces pain, improves sexual pleasure

June 11, 2012
Reconstructive surgery after female genital mutilation (FGM) appears to reduce pain and restore sexual pleasure in women, according to the first large prospective trial to assess long-term outcomes of a new surgical technique ...

Two held in Britain over 'female genital mutilation'

May 4, 2012
Two people were arrested in Britain's second city of Birmingham on Friday after a media report that medics and alternative practitioners had offered to perform female genital mutilation.

Most women on dialysis may experience sexual problems

April 5, 2012
The vast majority of female kidney failure patients on dialysis may experience sexual problems, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). Additional ...

Obese men and women report less satisfying sex life

May 2, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Obese men and women seeking weight-loss treatment report significantly less satisfaction with their sex life than the general population, and women report even lower satisfaction than men, according to ...

Sexual satisfaction in women increases with age

January 3, 2012
A new study of sexually active older women has found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age and those not engaging in sex are satisfied with their sex lives. A majority of study participants report frequent ...

Recommended for you

Population health impact of infants born small for gestational age in low- and middle-income countries

August 18, 2017
In low-and middle-income countries, it is common for babies to be born of low birth weight, due to either inadequate growth in utero (fetal growth restriction) and/or preterm birth, (birth before 37 weeks gestation). Maternal ...

Hormone from fat tissue can give protection against polycystic ovary syndrome

August 10, 2017
Obesity and reduced insulin sensitivity are common in polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS. New research based on animal studies, and to be published in the journal PNAS, reveals that the hormone adiponectin can protect against ...

Study in mice may reveal insights into causes of miscarriages for some women

August 9, 2017
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have identified how natural killer cells in the mouse placenta can cause a fetus to fail to grow in the womb or cause miscarriages.

Insomnia, sleep apnea nearly double the risk of preterm delivery before 34 weeks

August 9, 2017
Pregnant women who are diagnosed with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia appear to be at risk of delivering their babies before reaching full term, according to an analysis of California births by researchers ...

Elective freezing of IVF embryos linked to higher pregnancy rates in some cases

August 1, 2017
A delay in transferring embryos to the mother improves the success of in vitro fertilization in certain cases, according to a study by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Celmatix Inc. and several other ...

Negative birth outcomes linked to air pollution exposure early in pregnancy, study finds

July 27, 2017
Exposure to air pollution early in a pregnancy could increase risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine, and published on July 27 in Environmental Health ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.