Obstetric Fistula

Authors: Mary Lake Polan, Mulu Muleta Bedane, Svjetlana Lozo, Mark A. Morgan, Ambereen Sleemi


Obstetric fistula is a serious and debilitating complication of childbirth affecting millions of women in the developing world. A gynecologic fistula refers to an abnormal communication between the urinary tract or the gastrointestinal tract and the genital tract, produced by obstetric causes, usually prolonged and obstructed labor. The earliest example of obstetric fistula was found in 2050 BC in Egypt, where an Eleventh Dynasty mummy, Henhenit, appears to have had a vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF). The relationship between obstructed labor and fistula development was recognized and described by the Persian physician, Avicenna, in 1037 AD (Zacharin 2000). Before the twentieth century, both urinary and rectal fistulas were a common result of deliveries throughout the world.



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