Young girls and women from many African countries, the Middle East and certain parts of Asia are, as a tradition, subjected to female genital mutilation, cutting or circumcision.
Various forms of genital mutilation are practised. The most common is removing all or some of the clitoris and the inner labia. In some cases, the inner or outer labia are sewn together, leaving only a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. Genital mutilation can lead to many medical complications.
In Norway, all forms of genital mutilation are illegal.
If you have undergone genital mutilation and are experiencing pain or other problems, there are medical services that you can contact to talk about it and get the medical assistance:
The midwife at your local medical centre if you are pregnant
A nurse at your local medical centre or the school nurse
Women's or children's hospital clinics
Your nurse, midwife, or GP will be able to refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Medical assistance is free of charge at the local medical centre. In your GP office or hospital you will have to pay a user fee. Everything will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Possible long-term problems and complications include
- difficult or protracted urination (often, slow or painful)
recurrent genital or urinary infections, including kidney failure
- sexual complications
complications during childbirth with increased risks for mother and child
Surgery and other treatment following genital mutilation
For women who have undergone a form of genital mutilation where the labia are sewn together, a surgical operation to open up the vagina can reduce or eliminate many problems. It is a good idea to have this operation before you become sexually active. It can also be carried out during pregnancy or birth.
The brochure in different languages
If you need treatment, you can contact your local hospital. Most major hospitals offer treatment:
Contact the women's clinic, tel. 77 62 64 50
BERGEN: Haukeland University Hospital
Contact the women's clinic 10am - 11.30am and 1.30pm - 2.30pm on tel. 55 97 42 36
TRONDHEIM: St. Olavs Hospital
Contact the women's clinic on tel. 72 57 47 19
STAVANGER: Stavanger University Hospital
Contact the women's clinic on tel. 51 51 93 85
Contact the women's clinic 8.30am - 12 noon on tel. 22 11 98 44
OSLO and AKERSHUS: Akershus University Hospital
Contact the women's clinic on tel. 67 96 05 00