Monday, December 15, 2008

Question Reply: Infection Following an Abortion

This is in response to a visitor who came to Christina's blog searching, "I've got an infection from abortion. Can I die?" Things have turned into a heated debate over there, so I figure I'd post my reply here.

I strongly recommend going to see a doctor and get checked out, if you haven't already. If you don't feel comfortable returning to the same clinic, you can seek the follow-up care through your community's public health clinic, your regular gynecologist, or your primary care provider. The health care provider will probably preform an ultrasound and pelvic exam to ensure your abortion is complete and draw some blood because your white blood cell count can tell them whether your body is reacting to an infection. You may then receive a week or two supply of antibiotics. Sometimes the cause of infection is an incomplete abortion and a woman will need to have a repeat vacuum aspiration to remove remains of the pregnancy. However, if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, please don't wait until your 2 week follow-up and immediately go to your local hospital emergency department, as these could be signs of a potentially serious complication:
  • Fever (more than 100.4°F) and chills.
  • Severe persistent pain or cramps not relieved by pain relivers (ibuprofen or naproxen), rest, or a heating pad.
  • Vomiting for more than four to six hours and you are not able to keep anything down
  • Prolonged or heavy bleeding, soaking through more than 4-5 pads per hour or more than 12 pads in 24 hours.
  • An unpleasant, foul-smelling, and/or abnormal cottage-cheese-like or foamy green, yellow, or grey discharge from your vagina
Regardless of the severity of your infection, the sooner you start treatment, the better the outcome.

E-Medicine Health: Elective Abortion Follow-Up, an article by Suzanne R Trupin, MD

E-Medicine: Abortion Complications, an article by Slava V Gaufberg, MD, FACEP
Aftercare and clinical indications of complications to look out for following an induced abortion. A non-political professional medical website.

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