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If you've been affected by FGM in any way, the health service can help you. In Scotland you have a right to free health care no matter what your immigration status is. You can speak to your doctor (GP), health visitor, midwife or you can go to a sexual health clinic. If you're having a clinical examination and you'd prefer a female or male examiner, please ask the health worker.
Surgery can be performed to open up the vagina, if necessary. This is called deinfibulation. It's sometimes known as a "reversal". The procedure does not replace any removed tissue, and will not undo the damage caused. However, it can help many problems caused by FGM.
If you're a victim of FGM you might be offered surgery if:
- you're unable to have sex or have difficulty going to the toilet
- you're pregnant and at risk of problems during labour or delivery
Deinfibulation should be carried out before getting pregnant, if possible. It can be done in pregnancy or labour if necessary, but ideally should be done before the last two months of pregnancy. It's usually performed under local anaesthetic in a clinic. You don't usually need to stay overnight.
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