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Female genital cosmetic surgery: a cross-sectional survey exploring knowledge, attitude and practice of general practitioners
  1. M Simonis1,2,
  2. R Manocha3,4,
  3. J J Ong5,6
  1. 1Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Expert Committee Quality Care, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Sydney Medical School Northern, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Academic Department of Psychiatry, Kolling Institute, Northern Sydney Local Health District, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Simonis; magdalena.simonis{at}mac.com

Abstract

Objective To explore general practitioner's (GP) knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) in Australia.

Design Cross-sectional survey.

Setting Australia.

Sample GPs who attended a women's health seminar and GPs who subscribed to a non-governmental, national health professional organisation database that provides education to primary care professionals.

Method A national online survey of GPs was conducted for the 10-week period, starting 1 week prior and 2 months after a Women's Health seminar was held in Perth on 8 August 2015. 31 questions prompted GPs' knowledge, attitudes and practice in managing patients asking about FGCS.

Results The survey was fully completed by 443 GPs; 54% had seen patients requesting FGCS. Overall, 75% (95% CI 71% to 79%) of GPs rated their knowledge of FGCS as inadequate and 97% (95% CI 94% to 99%) had been asked by women of all ages about genital normality. Of those who had seen patients requesting FGCS, nearly half (44%, 95% CI 38% to 51%) reported they had insufficient knowledge of risks of FGCS procedures and 35% (95% CI 29% to 41%) reported seeing females younger than 18 years of age requesting FGCS. Just over half (56%, 95% CI 51% to 60%) of the GPs felt that women should be counselled before making a referral for FGCS. More than half the GPs suspected psychological disturbances in their patients requesting FGCS such as depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and body dysmorphic disorder.

Conclusions GPs see women of all ages presenting with genital anatomy concerns and in those who request FGCS, GPs often suspected a range of mental health difficulties. GPs require greater education to support their patients who request FGCS.

  • Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery Labiaplasty
  • Labiaplasty
  • General Practitioner
  • GP
  • genital anatomy
  • Women's health

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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