Deciding how to move forward when you’re unexpectedly pregnant is never easy, especially knowing there are risks whenever someone decides to take a medication or consent to undergo a procedure. And it’s the same with abortion.
You may hear that a small percentage of women have post-abortion complications, but statistics probably won’t matter to you if you’re one whose abortion is complicated by an infection known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
How will you know if you’re developing an infection after an abortion? Continue reading to learn more about recognizing the signs of PID after abortion. We’ll begin by discussing what PID is.
What Is PID?
Mayo Clinic describes PID as “an infection of one or more of the upper reproductive organs, including the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.” It can be caused by bacteria stemming from an untreated sexually transmitted infection, an incomplete abortion, or instruments that aren’t sterile.
Can I Get an Infection After a Medical Abortion?
Additionally, studies reveal that the risk of complications increases greatly if a woman takes abortion pills purchased online or without medical supervision. 62.5% of women who take self-administered abortion pills experience an incomplete abortion, which increases her risk of infection. For your safety, never take abortion pills that were purchased online.
What Are the Signs of Infection After Abortion?
Post-abortion infection is a potentially life-threatening complication, and it’s important that you can recognize the signs of infection so it can be treated early. Delaying treatment can cause long-term complications including chronic pain, future ectopic pregnancies, and infertility. If the infection enters the blood stream, it can cause death.
If you have any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical care. Common signs of a post-abortion infection include:
1. An unpleasant vaginal odor
The most common sign of infection after abortion is an odor from the vagina. It isn’t normal to have a strong vaginal odor after an abortion. Seek medical attention right away to be evaluated if this happens.
2. A fever
It’s common to experience a low-grade fever (under 100.4º F) after taking Misoprostol, the second abortion medication. But that side effect should last less than 24 hours.
Reach out to a healthcare professional if you experience a fever greater than 100.4º F or a fever lasting more than 24 hours after an abortion.
3. Very heavy bleeding
Bleeding is normal after an abortion and typically heavier following a medical abortion versus a surgical abortion. But very heavy bleeding can be a sign that you have an infection. Bleeding is considered heavy if you’re passing clots larger than a lemon or if you’re soaking two or more pads an hour for two consecutive hours. It’s important to not use tampons after an abortion.
4. Intense abdominal or back pain
The most common cause of severe pain after an abortion is infection. For that reason, it’s critical to seek medical attention right away if your pain continues to increase or is not controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol.
It’s normal to experience period-like cramping after an abortion, but it’s not normal to have severe abdominal or back pain.
Are you facing an unexpected pregnancy? Corbella Clinic is here for you. We offer compassionate pregnancy care with our licensed medical health providers. They will answer your questions to help you make the best decision for you and your pregnancy.
Cleveland Clinic Health Professional. (2021, October 21). Medical abortion: What is it, types, risks & recovery. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/21899-medical-abortion
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2023, September 1). Mifepristone (oral route) side effects. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/mifepristone-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067123?p=1
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022, April 30). Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Mayo Clinic.
Nivedita, K., & Shanthini, F. (2015). Is It Safe to Provide Abortion Pills over the Counter? A Study on Outcome Following Self-Medication with Abortion Pills. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 9(1), QC01–QC4. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2015/11626.5388