The practice of gishiri cutting, also known as gishri cutting is a form of female genital mutilation performed commonly by the peoples of the Hausa and Fulani regions of Northern Nigeria and Southern Niger. The procedure is believed by traditional practitioners to treat a variety of gynaecological ailments, although there is no scientific basis for this procedure, and it is considered pseudoscience.
A whole range of gynecologic complaints, including difficulty in labor, infertility, dyspareunia (pain during sex), pelvic organ prolapse and urinary retention, are believed to be caused by a vagina that is too narrow in these areas. The traditional treatment is to incise the vagina. A long knife is inserted into the vagina and backward cuts from the vagina's anterior wall into the perineum are made.
Serious injuries can result, such as fistulae: holes in the vaginal walls that separate it from the bladder or the rectum. Sometimes the knife is inserted down the urethra to make the cut, laying bare the entire lower urinary tract. Many women also die from hemorrhaging which results from the procedure.
The word "gishiri" is Hausa for "salt". It refers to the practice of Arab traders who still caravan across the Sahara to cities in the northern regions of West Africa, such as Kano, Nigeria. Among the most precious cargo they bring are blocks of salt. When a customer buys a quantity of salt, the trader produces a long knife and cuts a piece off a large block. The knife used to cut the salt is similar to the kind used to produce gishiri cuts.
- Romanzi, Lauri (December 2010). "Yankan Gishiri" cutting, a home remedy, cause fistula in Niger and Nigeria". Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "Fistula". Retrieved August 6, 2011.