"FGM harms women’s physical and emotional health throughout their lives. It has no known health benefits.The short-term and late complications depend on the type of FGM, whether the practitioner had medical training, and whether she used antibiotics and unsterilized or surgical single-use instruments. In the case of Type III, other factors include how small a hole was left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood, whether surgical thread was used instead of agave or acacia thorns, and whether the procedure was performed more than once (for example, to close an opening regarded as too wide or re-open one too small).
Common short-term complications include swelling, excessive bleeding, pain, urine retention and healing problems/wound infection. A 2015 systematic review of 56 studies that recorded immediate complications suggested that each of these occurred in more than one in ten girls and women undergoing any form of FGM, including symbolic nicking of the clitoris (Type IV), although the risks increased with Type III. The review also suggested that there was under-reporting. Other short-term complications include fatal bleeding, anaemia, urinary infection, septicaemia, tetanus, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease)It is not known how many girls and women die as a result of the practice, because complications may not be recognized or reported.The practitioners’ use of shared instruments is thought to aid the transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, although no epidemiological studies have shown this.
Late complications vary depending on the type of FGM. They include the formation of scars that lead to obstruction that may become infected, andformation (growth of nerve tissue) involving nerves that supplied the clitoris. An infibulated girl may be left with an opening as small as 2–3 mm, which can cause prolonged, drop-by-drop urination, pain while urinating, and a feeling of needing to urinate all the time. Urine may collect underneath the scar, leaving the area under the skin constantly wet, which can lead to infection and the formation of small stones. The opening is larger in women who are sexually active or have given birth by vaginal delivery, but the urethra opening may still be obstructed by scar tissue can develop (holes that allow urine or faeces to seep into the vagina).This and other damage to the urethra and bladder can lead to infections and incontinence, pain during sexual intercourse and infertility.
Painful periods are common because of the obstruction to the menstrual flow, and blood can stagnate in the vagina and uterus. Complete obstruction of the vagina can result (where the vagina and uterus fill with menstrual blood). The swelling of the abdomen that results from the collection of fluid, together with the lack of menstruation, can lead to suspicion of pregnancy."