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Fistulas Cause Sexual and Emotional Stress in Malawi

Fistulas Cause Sexual and Emotional Stress in MalawiSexual problems and emotional stress are common after vesicovaginal fistula surgery, according to a recent study of women in Malawi.

A vesicovaginal fistula is a hole that forms between the vagina and the bladder. When this happens, urine can pass through the hole and leak out of the vagina. Urinary incontinence may be persistent, and it can happen during intercourse, too.

The women in the study had obstetric fistulas, which are caused by obstructive labor, when a baby’s pathway out of the birth canal is blocked.

Such fistulas can be surgically repaired, but recovery takes time. In Malawi, the recommended recovery period includes 6 months of pelvic rest, during which nothing should penetrate the vagina. After surgery, incontinence is often cured, but damage to pelvic tissue makes sexual dysfunction a concern.

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