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Does female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) affect women’s sexual functioning? Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Does female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) affect women’s sexual functioning? Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis.

FGM/C refers to a traditional practice involving the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. Estimates suggest 100-130 million girls/women are currently living with various health consequences from FGM/C. We conducted a systematic review investigating the sexual consequences of FGM/C. We searched 13 electronic databases. Cross-referencing, handsearching organizations’ websites, and contacting experts yielded additional records. Two reviewers independently appraised 5,233 records and 36 full-text papers for inclusion and methodological quality.

15 comparative studies (7 countries, 12,671 participants), of variable methodological quality, met the eligibility criteria. The studies reported in total 65 outcomes for sexual consequences of FGM/C, the majority of which were statistically associated with FGM/C status at study level. Altogether meta-analyses were acceptable for seven outcomes: pain during intercourse, satisfaction, desire, initiation of sex, orgasm, reporting clitoris as the most sensitive area of the body, reporting the breasts as the most sensitive areas of the body. Compared to women without FGM/C, women who had been subjected to FGM/C were more likely to report pain during intercourse (RR= 1.52, 95%CI= 1.15, 2.0), no sexual desire (RR= 2.15, 95%CI= 1.37, 3.36), and less sexual satisfaction (St.mean diff= -0.34, 95%CI= -0.56, -0.13). Statistical tests for heterogeneity precluded additional consideration of outcomes. Although a causal link cannot be established based on the current evidence, results show that women with FGM/C are more likely to experience increased pain during intercourse and reduction in sexual satisfaction and desire.

Speakers: Rigmor Berg
Conference: WAS Glasgow 2011
Areas of Interest / Categories: WAS 2011

WAS 2011

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