Female Genital Schistosomiasis

Female Genital Schistosomiasis

Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) is a manifestation of the Schistosoma haematobium infection and is caused by waterborne flatworms or blood flukes entering the body and laying eggs inside, which are deposited in the organs. The presence of worm eggs in the genital tract (FGS) is a complication of Schistosomiasis. FGS can be diagnosed by visual inspection of the vaginal wall and cervix- lesions in these areas are characteristics of the disease. However, there are complications with diagnosing FGS, including the fact that tissue damage can remain even after the infection has been resolved. 


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that approximately 56 million women and girls worldwide suffer from FGS, however FGS is chronically underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed as a sexually transmitted infection- the true number of cases is unknown. Clinicians and other health-care professionals are generally unaware of the existence of FGS in endemic countries, as it does not appear in textbooks. A pocket atlas for clinical health-care professionals was released by WHO in 2015.

Symptoms and complications

Symptoms of FGS include blood in urine, abdominal and pelvic pain, genital itching or burning, vaginal discharge, pain or difficulty urinating, pain and/or bleeding during or after sexual intercourse. Complications arising from FGS can also include infertility, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, genital ulcers, tumours or swelling in the external or internal genital areas and involuntary urination. Furthermore, the incidence of FGS can increase a woman or girl’s risk of contracting other diseases such as HIV.

Neglected Tropical Diseases