What Is Obstetric Fistula And What Causes It?

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Fistula forms when inflammation causes sore, or ulcers to form on the inside wall of the intestine or nearby organs.

Obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth. This can be between the v#gin# and rectum, ureter, or bladder. It can result in incontinence of urine or feces. Complications may include depression, infertility, and social isolation.

Obstetric Fistula occurs when a mother has a prolonged, obstructed labour, but doesn’t have access to emergency medical care, such as a C-section. She often labours in excruciating pain for days. Usually the baby dies.

Causes may include obstructed labor, poor access to medical care, malnutrition, and teenage pregnancy. The underlying mechanism is poor blood flow to the affected area for a prolonged period of time. Diagnosis is generally based on symptoms and may be supported by use of methylene blue.

During her prolonged labor, the mother’s contractions continually push the baby’s head against her pelvis. Soft tissues caught between the baby’s head and her pelvic bone become compressed, restricting the normal flow of blood.

Obstetric fistulae are almost preventable with appropriate use of cesarean section.

Cause of Obstetric Fistula

Obstetric fistula is caused by ischemia of the soft tissue between the vagina and the urinary tract or between the vagina and the rectum by compression of the fetal head.

Elective abortion

The direct tearing of the same soft tissue during precipitous delivery or obstetric maneuvers.