Scientific article
Open access

Chronic Vulvar Pain After Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Retrospective Study

Published inSexual medicine, vol. 9, no. 5, 100425
Publication date2021-10
First online date2021-09-11

Introduction: Chronic vulvar pain is a condition that affects many women during their lifetime, including women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

Aim: To study the prevalence and possible etiologies of chronic vulvar pain among women living with FGM/C.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of consecutive medical files of 506 women who consulted our specialized clinic for women with FGM/C between April 1, 2010 and December 31, 2017. We collected sociodemographic and clinical data including information on the type of FGM/C and its complications. We focused on studying the prevalence, etiologies and characteristics of chronic vulvar pain.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence and etiologies of vulvar pain in women with FGM/C.

Results: Chronic vulvar pain was present in 14 women (2.8%). Pain was unprovoked in one case (7.1%) and provoked in the 13 other cases (92.9%). In most of the cases, women presented vulvar pain related to scar complications such as clitoral or peri-clitoral adhesions or scar tissue (n = 3, 21.4%), bridle scars (n = 1, 7.1%), post-traumatic neuromas (n = 2, 14.3%) and vulvar cysts (n = 6, 42.9%), the latter being found more frequently in women with FGM/C type III. In 2 cases (14.3%) of chronic vulvar pain, no lesions other than FGM/C were visible at clinical examination. Among these 14 women, 12 suffered from superficial dyspareunia as well. The remaining ones had not had any sexual contact for several years. Dyspareunia was present in 126 women (24.9%), among which 75 patients (14.8%) suffered from superficial dyspareunia and 25 patients (4.9%) complained of deep dyspareunia. Fourteen women (2.8%) reported both superficial and deep dyspareunia. Twelve women (2.3%) reported dyspareunia with no specified localization documented in the medical charts. Dyspareunia was significantly more frequent among infibulated women compared to women with FGM/C different from type III (P = .014).

Conclusion: Chronic vulvar pain after FGM/C is probably associated with scar complications and FGM/C type III (infibulation). Dyspareunia is more frequent in women with FGM/C type III. Bazzoun Y, Aerts L, Abdulcadir J. Chronic Vulvar Pain After Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Retrospective Study. Sex Med 2021;9:100425.

  • Chronic vulvar pain
  • Dyspareunia
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting
  • Genital pain
  • Infibulation
  • yspareunia
Citation (ISO format)
BAZZOUN, Yara, AERTS, Leen, ABDULCADIR, Jasmine. Chronic Vulvar Pain After Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Retrospective Study. In: Sexual medicine, 2021, vol. 9, n° 5, p. 100425. doi: 10.1016/j.esxm.2021.100425
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2050-1161

Technical informations

Creation10/06/2022 9:47:13 AM
First validation06/21/2023 3:06:51 PM
Update time06/21/2023 3:06:51 PM
Status update06/21/2023 3:06:51 PM
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