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False! Bacteria does not grow in uncircumcised women’s vagina

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Claim: An X user, A. A. ALHAJI OF NUPELAND (@AAAlhaji21), claims that bacteria grow in female genitals if not circumcised. 

False! Bacteria does not grow in uncircumcised women’s vagina

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful and discriminatory practice that has been perpetuated for centuries, leaving millions of girls and women with physical and emotional scars. Despite efforts to eradicate it, FGM is still being practised across the globe, including in Nigeria.

A recent post on social media platform X has ignited a heated debate over female circumcision. A.A. ALHAJI OF NUPELAND (@AAAlhaji21) sparked the conversation with a claim that uncircumcised women are more likely to have high sexual urges and engage in promiscuous behaviour due to bacteria growth in their private parts. 

The post reads in part, “That place not circumcised has some bacteria growing there as she keeps growing. That leads to high sex urges in the lady and, most of the time, results in her dating many guys for sex. If you can get a professional, it’s better to have it cut than to expose the girl to high sex life. 

The post, which has garnered over 269,000 views and 718 reposts, was in response to a question by an X user, Muhammad Abdulakeem (@realmuhammadd), about the necessity of circumcising newborn baby girls. “Abeg, is it compulsory to do circumcision for a newlyborn baby girl? E dey cause arguments here, Abdulakeem asked.”

While some X users, like Andy (@andybankz_), supported the post stating, “You might not have said it the right way, but doing it reduces the amount of horniness in a girl child, so it is better to do it than having a horny goat bro. They won’t agree with you, but our parents did it, and it played a vital role in our society.” 

Others, like Ayomideji (@TheBlackDeji) and Bolatito (@Teetoalaso), strongly disagreed, with Ayomideji simply stating “Say no to FGM” and Bolatito expressing disbelief that such a conversation is happening in 2024.

The post has sparked a wider conversation about female genital mutilation (FGM) and its potential consequences. 


FGM, a practice dating back over 2,000 years, affects millions of girls and women worldwide. The United Nations Children’s Fund defines Female genital mutilation (FGM) as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” 

According to the World Health Organisation, the practice is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and as an extreme form of gender discrimination, reflecting deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. As it is practised on young girls without consent, it is a violation of the rights of children. FGM also violates a person’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has set a target to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation by the year 2030.

Online images show women, once tasked with performing this harmful practice, proudly displaying their tools of the trade. These instruments– razors, knives, scissors, scalpels, and even shards of glass– were once used to irreparably harm young girls, often between infancy and age 15, as part of a misguided cultural tradition. 

Despite being outlawed in many countries, FGM persists, fueled by cultural and societal beliefs. Families and communities often view it as a rite of passage to ensure a girl’s modesty and marriageability. However, the truth is far more sinister.

UNICEF data as of March 2024 reveals alarming statistics:

– Over 230 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM.

– Africa accounts for the largest share, with over 144 million cases.

– Asia follows with over 80 million cases.

– The Middle East has an additional 6 million cases.

-Another 1-2 million cases occur in smaller practising communities and destination countries for migration worldwide.

UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Christiane Mundaute, revealed that Nigeria has the third-highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) globally, according to a report by The PUNCH newspapers. This means that Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of women and girls who have undergone FGM, ranking third worldwide. This alarming statistic highlights the need for continued efforts to address and eradicate this harmful practice in Nigeria.

The World Health Organization notes that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) can lead to various health complications, including bacterial vaginosis (BV). According to the Cleveland Clinic, BV is a common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, resulting in an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Every vaginal has a balance of good and bad bacteria, but when the bad bacteria overgrow, it leads to BV. Symptoms include a greyish or off-white discharge with a strong, fishy odour. 

Expert speak

Contrary to A. A. Alhaji of Nupeland’s claim that uncircumcised females have bacteria growth in their genitals, a Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator at the Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA), Opeyemi Elizabeth Agunbiade, has clarified that female genital mutilation (FGM) does not prevent bacterial infections in the vagina. Instead, she explained that lactobacilli, a natural microorganism, protects the vagina against infections, regardless of circumcision status.

She said, “There is a normal microorganism that thrives in a lady’s vagina whether the lady is circumcised or not. The function of this microorganism(lactobacilli) is to protect the vagina against any form of infection. So it thrives at the mucosa layer of the vagina, so it will protect it against any form of bacteria regardless of being circumcised or not. 

“Now the bacteria in her vagina is the normal flora which is the lactobacillus that will protect the vagina against any form of infection. If other microorganisms come or if the normal flora is washed away(for those who wash their vagina with soap, antiseptic solutions), it exposes the genitals to infection.”

A Community Health Supervisor, Ms Abiola Deborah Owolabi, also dismissed claims that female genital mutilation (FGM) prevents bacterial growth and high sexual urges. She emphasised that both circumcised and uncircumcised individuals can contract bacterial infections and experience high sexual urges, citing psychological, socio-cultural, and hygiene factors as influences.

Owolabi said, “Instead of making a girl go through mutilation, the girl child should just be exposed to sexual health education, good hygiene practices, the girl child should be given education instead of making the girl child go through mutilation, in the long run, it will affect her. So, female genital mutilation is not a solution to managing sexual health. Female genital mutilation is a procedure that causes injury to the female genital organ for no medical reason, and it has no health benefit. It rather causes severe harm to women and girls, and this harm could be psychological, physical, or even health-wise.”

FGM Survivor shares harrowing experience, advocates for an end to the practice

A survivor of female genital mutilation, Damilola Adegbaju, also spoke against the practice, sharing her painful experience and debunking cultural beliefs surrounding it.

Adegbaju recalled being circumcised at age five, describing the pain as “serious” and the conditions as unsanitary, with the same knife being used on multiple girls, risking disease transmission. She also dismissed the superstition that FGM prevents promiscuity, calling it a harmful punishment to the body.

As a mother, Adegbaju chose not to have her daughter circumcised, citing her own traumatic experience and the lack of medical benefits. 

“I was five years old when I was circumcized, but when I had my child, I decided she would not be circumcised because I knew the pain I passed through then, and the reason for my late circumcision is because my mother didn’t want it for me. It was my father’s family who insisted that I must be circumcised, that it is their custom. So when I heard from people that it is not good and the experience of the pains, I made up my mind not to support it.

My people have the belief that if you have not been circumcised, you have not become a female, but ever since I grew up, I know this act causes diseases in the female body. After cutting the clitoris part of a female sex organ, when the person in question urinates, the wound is healed, but before then, the person would have gone through a lot of pain. To my knowledge, I don’t see what is so important about what they cut because my brother’s wife, who is an Isobo, was not circumcised, and nothing happened to her. She even delivered safely. It shows the whole act is rubbish and just punishment to the body.

She encouraged others to abandon the practice, emphasising education and awareness as key to ending FGM.


The claim by A.A. Alhaji of Nupeland that if a woman is not circumcised, bacteria will grow in her genitals, leading to high sexual urges and promiscuity, is FALSE.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Crest 91.1FM, Ibadan, and News Verifier Africa, to enrich the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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