With the wave of increasing number of abortion in Kenya, many women are taking the opportunity to get rid of their unwanted pregnancies. But just like any other medical operation, abortion carries a slight risk of infection. If carried out in a proper place and by well-qualified medics, the operation should normally go smoothly without serious risks involved. All the same, it is best to watch out for any abnormality in your body as it may be indicative of an infection.
Signs That You May Be Having an Infection after Abortion
Although the probability of getting an infection is quite low, it does exist. Here are a few ways by which you can recognize an infection after your abortion:
- First, you may experience profuse bleeding. Bleeding in amounts similar to your menstruation is normal and should be expected for up to 14 days after the abortion. However, if the amounts are significantly larger and do not seem to diminish or completely end, then it is possible that you developed an infection during the operation.
- Another indicator of an infection after abortion is your body temperature. If your temperatures go above 40 degrees on the days following the abortion, it is necessary to seek medical attention. Usually, you should expect to experience a slight fever on the day of the operation, but after that, it could mean that you got infected during the process.
- Also, you should watch your cramps. If you got an infection during the process, your cramps will be much more painful than they normally are. In addition, you may have period like pains that don’t go down even after you take over the counter medication.
- Nausea and chills could also mean that you have an infection.
Possible Infections after Abortion
Infection after abortion does not come in a single form or through one single means.
- The most common type of infection is endometritis. This is the inflammation of the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus. The urinary system, vagina and other reproductive parts may also suffer in this type of infection. Although endometritis is not a life threatening condition, it needs to be treated as soon as possible as it can lead to infertility and more complications in the reproductive system. Treatment usually involves the use of antibiotics.
- Pelvic inflammatory infection occurs when bacteria find their way into the uterus. The condition affects the uterus, the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This could be caused by the use of unsterilized items or just poor levels of hygiene. This is one of the most serious types of infection and could easily leave a woman in pain for the rest of her life. Pelvic inflammatory infection must be diagnosed by a doctor, who will then prescribe antibiotics depending on the severity of the condition. In more severe cases, the antibiotics will have to be administered through injections.
- Incomplete abortion: A woman could also get infected after having an abortion if part of the foetus was left in her body. The remainders of foetus could develop complications for the woman and could even lead to her death. Incomplete abortion can be detected by the severe pain it causes in the belly. The woman will also bleed beyond the third week after the abortion. Professionally, whether the woman had an incomplete abortion or not is determined using ultra sound tests. This kind of infection usually necessitates another surgery to correct the situation.
- Another infection risked during abortions is the possible injury to the womb and the cervix. An internal injury in the womb can be caused by sharp objects used in the abortion procedure. The cervix may similarly get damaged when stretched by the sharp object. The tubes, intestines, bladder and ovaries can also get damaged in case such an injury occurs. Usually, such injury will result in heavy bleeding and emergency procedures will be necessary. Bleeding as a result of womb injury does not usually occur from the vagina, but from the abdomen, and can therefore be identified easily. The chances of the womb getting an injury are, however, very low.
How to Take Care of Yourself to Prevent Infection
Infection after abortion, though rare, can occur and cause serious side effects. The thing is, if you are careful enough, it can be prevented.
1. Do Not Interfere with the Vagina
For five days after the abortion, your cervix will be open and can get injured more easily. It is therefore necessary to avoid touching or having sexual intercourse for at least the five days following the operation. The use of tampons should also be avoided.
2. Judge Your Own State
Usually, you may be advised to spend most of the time resting after the abortion. Taking care of yourself after abortion is essential. Though it may be impossible to spend your time doing absolutely nothing with your work, school and family issues, judge your own state and act as it dictates. Avoid any strenuous activities; if you experience pain when taking part in daily tasks, you should stop immediately and allow your system some time to recover.
3. Avoid Recreational Drugs
Alcohol and drugs should be strictly avoided after an abortion, including caffeine. However, caffeine is harmless if taken in moderate amounts. This is because the use of drugs lowers the effectiveness of antibiotics and other medication that may be prescribed. The result is a situation in which your body is not able to gain back its ability to fight infections.
4. Other Things to Keep in Mind
Take your medications as prescribed. After an abortion, your doctor will prescribe some antibiotics for you. These are meant to be taken as directed, and not just till the day that you feel you have recovered.
· Avoid having repeated abortions. Having a subsequent abortion will risk damage to your reproductive organs and make you more susceptible to infection. And beyond this, repeated abortions can also render you infertile and increase your probability of having a miscarriage.
5. Consider Getting Psychological Help
After having an abortion, you may experience depression and end up neglecting your own well-being. Depression may not be easy to recognize, but can have significant impact on the rest of your life. This is why getting help from a psychiatrist or trusted friend should be considered. Depression after abortion can be noted in the way a woman connects to other children and her mood when she sees babies. The state could also lead to sexual dysfunctionality. Feelings of guilt and shame are also indicative of post abortion depression.