Infection after abortion is the most common complication after abortion. A woman must recognize the signs and symptoms of an infection and contact her medical provider as soon as possible for assistance.
Signs and symptoms of an infection can include:
- Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
- Severe abdominal or back pain
- Fever lasting more than 24 hours
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Increased Risk of Infection After Abortion
The most common cause of infection after an abortion is sexually transmitted infections (STIs), usually untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea. Because STIs often have no symptoms, a woman may be infected without knowing. A woman needs to receive regular STI testing if she is sexually active.
STI testing should also be performed before an abortion. Any STIs must be diagnosed and treated before receiving an abortion to limit the risk of infection afterward.
Long-Term Risk of Post-Abortion Infection
Untreated infection in a woman’s reproductive organs can lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Women who do not seek PID treatment are at risk of developing abscesses and permanent scarring throughout their reproductive tract. This increases their chances of experiencing the following complications:
- Chronic pelvic pain, usually during sex or ovulation
- Tubo-ovarian cyst, which is an abscess in the reproductive tract that can become life-threatening if left untreated
- Ectopic Pregnancy (pregnancy not located in the uterus)—because scarring from PID in the fallopian tubes might make it impossible for an embryo to reach the uterus, the embryo may implant in the tube. This can become a life-threatening condition.
- Infertility—it may become difficult or impossible for women to conceive after damage caused by PID. This risk increases with repeated PID diagnoses and untreated PID.
Free Pre-Abortion Assessment
If you are considering an abortion, take advantage of our free pre-abortion assessment. This service provides pregnancy testing, ultrasound, and STI testing, all of which are crucial before an abortion. Schedule your appointment today.