An obstetric fistula is a small channel between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor when the unborn baby cannot pass through the pelvis. It may be due to the baby is too big for the pelvis or lying in the wrong position or pelvis is not fully developed. In the developed countries women are cured through cesarean section, but in some parts of the world, this technique is not available due to which pressure of baby’s head for a long time on the blood vessels supplying the tissue of the vagina, bladder, urethra, and rectum cuts off the supply of oxygen. It may lead to the death of the affected tissue. The dead tissue is then removed, leaving a hole or channel between the adjacent organs.

Depending upon the location of the fistula it can be classified into:

Vesicovaginal Fistula: In this, there is a channel between the urinary bladder and vagina.

Rectovaginal Fistula: In this, there is a channel between the rectum and vagina.

Obstetric fistula is preventable as well as treatable. It can be prevented if immediate attention is given to labor pain. As it can prevent the formation of fistula during the labor pain. If it still occurs then it can be cured through surgery.

Causes of Obstetric Fistula

• Prolonged obstructed labor.
• Low-quality c-section.
• Lack of access to c-section.
• Cervical cancer therapy.
• Injury during vaginal, anus or rectum surgery.
• Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease

Symptoms of Obstetric Fistula

Fecal Incontinence or urinary incontinence, which may be continual or just occur at night.
• Discharge from the vagina which may be foul-smelling.
• Vaginal or urinary tract infections.
• Irritation, pain or swelling around the vaginal area.
• Pain during intercourse.
• Nausea/Vomiting
• Abdominal or pelvic pain
• Irritation or soreness inside the vaginal area

Diagnosis of Obstetric Fistula

The diagnosis of obstetric fistula is done by physically examining the walls of the vagina. Vaginal infection is confirmed with blood and urine tests. An X-Ray or MRI may be needed to identify damaged tissue. Endoscopy is required to find out the type and size of the fistula.

Obstetric Fistula Treatment

If an obstetric fistula is left untreated it may cause chronic incontinence and it may further lead to frequent infections, kidney disease, and infertility. So, a wise decision is to find the best proctologist and get the fistula treated as soon as possible.

Healing Hands Clinic specializes in treating rectovaginal fistula. It is treated in layers. Primary reconstruction sphincter repair is done. This is followed by vaginal wall repair. Finally, the rectal mucosa is repaired. The clinic has centers at Pune, Baner, Chakan, Chinchwad, Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, and Bengaluru. All the centers have a well-qualified team of doctors and surgeons who are experts in treating all types of anorectal disorders such as piles, fissure, fistula, and other lifestyle disorders.

Author's Bio: 

Proctologist at Healing Hands Clinic