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Abortion is a procedure by which a pregnancy is terminated. It can occur naturally or can be induced by medical or surgical methods. If an abortion occurs naturally due to an infection or any other cause, it is often termed a miscarriage. Induced abortion is where a fetus’s life is ended during pregnancy using medicines or surgery.
Certain females consider the idea of abortion due to many reasons such as early age pregnancy, pregnancy occurring after a rape incident, unwanted pregnancy, etc. But before you proceed with an abortion, it is important to consult with your doctor to understand the possible risks and effects posed during and after the procedure.
Some of the common effects you may experience after an abortion include:
Change in appetite
Vaginal bleeding that occurs after an abortion is normal and may last for two to three weeks. You may also notice blood clots in bleeding. If you had surgical abortion, you might not have bleeding until the date of your next period. Other normal symptoms resemble those that you might have experienced during menstruation. But there is always a risk of some complications after the procedure of abortion, which may include:
Excessive or uncontrolled bleeding
Damage to the womb or cervix
Infection of the uterus lining or fallopian tubes
Perforation of the uterus
Scarring of uterine tissues
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Some of these conditions may become life-threatening if not addressed on time.
Abortion may also pose some future risks for your health. These risks do not occur in all women who undergo an abortion, but they should be considered before getting the procedure done. Some of the future impacts of abortion are summarized below based on recent research:
Infertility: If an abortion completes without any complication, there is no risk of infertility. The risk is higher in those women who develop complications after a medical or surgical procedure such as infections, uterus damage, etc. Women with secondary diseases such as uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes or those with a habit of substance abuse are also at risk.
Complications with future pregnancy: Surgical abortion may damage the intra-uterine tissues if not done right. This may increase the risk of miscarriage or early deliveries. In some cases, cervical incompetence is noticed, which may pose difficulty in future deliveries.
Pre-term delivery: Research studies have indicated that abortion may increase the risk of pre-term or early deliveries in the future. Women who have gone through more than one abortion have a higher chance of preterm delivery than those who have gone only once. Early birth can cause serious complications for the baby.
Breast cancer: A normal pregnancy matures the breast tissues and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer, especially in women who already have had an abortion before.
Sexual dysfunction: Women who undergo an abortion may lose their sexual desire over time. It can be due to increased vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, or the risk of another unwanted pregnancy. Difficulty in experiencing orgasm may also be noticed.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): If a female has chlamydia infection at the time of abortion, she may have an increased risk of developing PID. PID can lead to multiple future complications, including ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Psychological issues: It has been noticed that many women who undergo an abortion develop depression or other mental health issues afterward. Feelings of guilt, regret, sadness, and anger may be present. In severe cases, they may develop increased suicidal tendencies. It can be influenced by other social, religious, and cultural factors.
If you consider undergoing an abortion, measure the risks and benefits of the procedure beforehand. Consult with a specialist and ask them to explain the procedure in detail, including the risk of all future complications that may arise. Proper guidance and reassurance before the procedure can help you make the right decision and reduce the risk of future complications.
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Sarwat Makkani, MD
Yanelquis Torres, MD
Fabiola Baptiste, NP
Karen Matta Toomey
Raga Mohamed Ali Osman
Sipra Talvikki Autio