244355 Female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal practices: Possible implications of changes in cervical secretions

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sarp Aksel, BS , Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Irit Sinai, PhD , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Kimberly Aumack Yee, BA , Consultant for the Institute for Reproductive Health Georgetown University, Alameda, CA
Cervical secretions are a marker of good reproductive health. They are indicative of when a woman enters the fertile period of her cycle and are necessary to achieve pregnancy, yet many women are unaware of these relationships. Some Fertility awareness-based method of family planning, such as the TwoDay Method, rely on the presence or absence of cervical secretions to identify the fertile window the days each cycle in which a woman is more likely to become pregnant. Users who wish to avoid or delay pregnancy do not have unprotected sex on these days.

Female genital cutting, and other intra-vaginal practices such as douching and the use of drying agents, are still prevalent in many communities throughout Africa. These practices can potentially disrupt normal cervical secretions patters, and therefore influence the practicality and feasibility of offering fertility awareness based methods that are based on daily monitoring of healthy secretions.

Our presentation will explore the possible effects of female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal customs on cervical secretions, and consider how these may influence the use of secretions-based methods of family planning. Implications for integrating such methods into reproductive health programs in setting where these practices are highly prevalent will also be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Basic medical science applied in public health
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session, participants will be able to: (1) understand the implications of female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal practices, such as douching and the use of drying agents, on the use of family planning methods that rely on the identification of the presence or absence of cervical secretions; and (2) recognize the programmatic implications to offering such methods in settings where such practices are prevalent.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the literature review.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.