We have updated our Online Services Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. See our Cookies Notice for information concerning our use of cookies and similar technologies. By using this website or clicking “I ACCEPT”, you consent to our Online Services Terms of Use.

Highly Specialized Care for Women with Genital Trauma or Genital Mutilation

Although rare, there are women in this country who suffered genital trauma prior to immigrating to the United States. Damage may be due to the intentional procedure of female circumcision (removal of the clitoris) which is a cultural norm in some countries or to injuries sustained during childbirth.

Make An Appointment

To schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with a female sexual health specialist, call 216-844-3009.

The UH Female Sexual Health team recognizes that these women have significant medical needs and is prepared to help. In collaboration with plastic surgeons, we have the advanced training and expertise to perform the following procedures with the goal of improving sexual function and quality of life for these patients.

  • Clitoral reconstruction after female circumcision or genital injury
  • Vulvar and vaginal reconstruction after damage due to traumatic childbirth or other injury
  • Obstetric fistula repair, including both vesico-vaginal and recto-vaginal fistula repair

An obstetric fistula is an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina (vesico-vaginal fistula) or rectum and the vagina (recto-vaginal fistula) that may occur due to childbirth injury (rare in the U.S.), radiation treatments for cancer or surgical complications.

Depending on the size and location of the fistula, urine or stool can leak into the vagina, causing both medical and psychological complications for the woman. Although some very small fistulas may close on their own, most need to be repaired surgically.

Rachel Pope, MD repairing obstetric-related vesico-vaginal fistulas in Malawi
Rachel Pope, MD repairing obstetric-related vesico-vaginal fistulas in Malawi - Photo Credit: ©Smiley Pool

Program Director

Rachel Pope, MD, MPH, is fellowship trained in global women’s health. She has worked extensively in sub-Saharan Africa to gain the experience and advanced training needed to treat women with rare but serious genital injuries.