Female genital mutilation (sometimes called female genital cutting) is a traditional cultural practice involving the cutting or removal of the external genitals. It has existed for more than 2,000 years, and is performed on girls of only a few days old, up to just before marriage. It is traditionally practised by non-medically trained women, often in unsterile conditions and without anaesthetic.
FGM is classified into four main types:
There are no health benefits to FGM and it causes much harm. Some of the health problems caused include:
Further information on FGM can be found at:
World Health Organisation - Female Genital Mutilation factsheets and reports
NHS - Female Genital Mutilation overview and advice on FGM in the UK