Friday, 11 November 2016

FEMALE CIRCUMCISION: THE MYTHS


Whilst perusing the comment section in one of the online fora, I came across this rather disturbing one from a certain apparently educated, young lady. She was advocating for female circumcision as a means of reducing female 'libido' and curbing promiscuity amongst the female folks.

It got me thinking... "If this educated, apparently exposed and probably informed or rather
misinformed young lady could be under such strong illusion, the dearth of knowledge out there must be astounding".

Hence, I am compelled to make a rejoinder and clear this absurdity.

Female circumcision is basically the partial or complete removal of the clitoris with or without other parts of the female external genitalia for non medical reasons. It is usually performed without any form of pain killers and without much recourse to infection prevention or universal precaution.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 20million girls in Nigeria have undergone female circumcision. This is about 10% of the global total with Osun state having the highest prevalence (76.6%) in Nigeria,  the Northeast zone with the lowest prevalence (2.9%)  and Katsina state in the Northeast zone with still the lowest prevalence in the zone (0.1%).

It is rather distressing that in this age when all effort is geared towards the eradication of this dastardly and dehumanizing act, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), with its grievous, untoward and very disastrous health consequences still has advocates - a lady no less, is out there making a case for it. It is indeed a very disturbing development and shows we still have our work cut out for us.

Let me quickly add for the avoidance of doubt, that there is no correlation whatsoever, either in part or in whole between circumcision and libido.

Female libido basically involves the interplay of hormones, essentially estrogen secreted by the ovarian follicles, the corpus leuteum and the placenta whose stimulation for secretion comes from the Follicle Stimulating Hormone produced by the anterior pituitary.
In other words, this has nothing to do with the clitoris that is basically chopped off during female circumcision. If anything, female circumcision, would only make sex unsatisfying and unpleasurable. In a bid to attain sexual satisfaction, the woman may get involved in more sexual adventures contrary to the earlier held notion.

The clitoris is a small sensitive part of the female genitalia located at the anterior end of the vulva, near the front of the junction of the two labia above the opening of the urethra. (Omo this is deep!!! Please use the diagram above).
How important is this bullet organ? It is the human female's most sensitive erogenous zone and generally the primary anatomical source of female sexual pleasure. It is highly innervated with more than eight thousand sensory nerve endings.
The clitoris develops from the genital tubercle which differentiates into either the penis or the clitoris depending on the presence or absence of the protein TDF which is codified by a single gene on the Y Chromosome.

Female circumcision has no health benefits. It is a violation of the rights of the girl child as it is always performed without permission and against her will.
It is an extreme form of discrimination against the female gender and a violation of the rights of the child.
According to the World Health Organization, it violates a person's right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

FGM has untoward consequences which include but not limited to:
Infection
Bleeding
Tetanus
Infertility
Pain on urination
Pain during sex
Transmission of HIV, Hepatits B and C
Psychological truama including depression, anxiety, low self esteem  and post traumatic stress disorder.
Vesico vaginal and rectovaginal fistulae (holes that allow urine or faeces to seep into the vagina leading to incontinence of urine and faeces)
Haematocolpos(compelete obstruction of the vagina)
Haematometra(retention of menses)
Gangrene
Necrotizing fascitis
Endometritis
Epidermoid cysts
Neuroma
Increased risk of birth asphyxia and neonatal mortality
Keloid formation and strictures

There is therefore no gainsaying the fact that FGM is an unwholesome practice which should be stopped.
This possibly informed the Federal Government's decision to outlaw the practice last year. Inspite of the ban, the practice is still seen in certain areas. Sad and pathetic is the involvement of some health workers in this practice.

LET US SAY NO TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION AND HELP PUT AN END TO THIS DREADED, BARBARIC AND DEHUMANIZING ACT.

Article written by Dr Ogbu Nathaniel
Edited by Dr Orabueze Ibuchukwu

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