Fistula after Childbirth

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If you would like legal advice regarding your fistula injury and possible medical negligence, contact our legal team today. You may be eligible for compensation.

Childbirth is one of the most traumatic events a body can endure. Even in modern times, it is considered a risky event and is plagued with many possible complications. Oftentimes, the new mum believes that as soon as they’re dismissed from the delivery room the risk of complications is over. While a majority of complications are immediately or during childbirth, one in particular, fistula formation, often only reveals itself long after the childbirth is complete.

A fistula is the end result of a ureteral injury that has gone undiagnosed during the birth. It can also occur when there is an infection, abscess, or peritonitis. When a mother undergoes prolonged labour and cannot have a cesarean section, the child will press against the mother’s vagina for 3-5 days, cutting off a majority of the blood flow to the surrounding tissue. The end result is a blockage and/or hole in the tubing between the vagina and bladder or rectum, leading to dripping of feces, urine, and/or blood.

Many times, the dripping is so bad that the acid in the excrements cause burns on the legs and perhaps even nerve damage. In the worst cases, women even lose mobility and limit their water dehydration because they want to reduce the amount of dripping. Particularly in older, more patriarchal societies, the fistula and the ensuing physical effects can lead to very severe social consequences.

There are afew ways to prevent fistulas. The best way is to ensure there is good access to obstetric care, as advisement of the proper time to have children, and the risk of having children too young, is not very widely known. Whenever women have children at a very young age, they are at increased risk of this issue, due to the possibility of not being completely physically developed prior to childbirth. Often, where there is a risk of an undeveloped pelvis, a caesarian section is strongly advised.

The specific cure for a fistula depends heavily on the location and size of the injury. A qualified surgeon can usually accurately assess the situation and advise of the best course of action. Usually it entails a surgical procedure that requires the surgeon to go into the vagina and repair the section that has the fistula. If this is impossible, many times the surgeon will perform the procedure in stages. A surgical procedure can at least improve, and usually cure the majority of fistulas that occur.

After the fistula is repaired, a new mother’s life is usually greatly improved. Most surgeries will allow the mother to have more children, but a cesarean section is strongly advised since the risk of a reoccurrence is extremely high. In all cases, the risk of infection is extremely high, and should be given the utmost of attention. Finally, physical therapy is typically required to restore full range of motion to the mother.

An alternative treatment is through urethral catheterization, particularly for cases that are caught early. In 37% of cases that were treated within 75 days of birth, catheterization fixed the problem to the extent that surgery was not needed.




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