Incomplete Abortions: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Going through an abortion can be an emotionally challenging experience. However, what can be even more complicated is an incomplete abortion. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you might mistake it for a failed abortion and assume that the pregnancy is ongoing. But that’s not the case.
Incomplete abortion refers to a situation where the pregnancy has been terminated, but not entirely. If left untreated, it can result in severe complications, including infection. If you suspect that you’re experiencing an incomplete abortion, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Keep reading to learn more about incomplete abortions, their signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
What distinguishes complete abortion from incomplete abortion?
It is a common misconception that complete abortions and incomplete abortions are interchangeable terms, but this is not accurate. Unplanned abortion has various subtypes, including both complete and incomplete abortion, as well as unavoidable, missed, and threatened abortion.
When all the fetal contents are expelled from the uterus after an abortion, it is referred to as a complete abortion. On the other hand, an incomplete abortion occurs when the fetal contents are not entirely removed from the uterus and significant remains are left inside the body, leading to potential toxicity. Incomplete abortion is more harmful than complete abortion, as it can have severe aftereffects.
Signs And Symptoms of Incomplete Abortion
The signs and symptoms of an incomplete abortion can vary depending on how far along the pregnancy was and how much fetal tissue remains in the uterus. Some of the most common symptoms of incomplete abortion include:
- Heavy Vaginal bleeding: This is the most common symptom of an incomplete abortion. The bleeding may vary in intensity, from mild spotting to severe bleeding.
- Abdominal pain: You may experience cramping or abdominal pain or discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps, which can be mild or severe.
- Fetal tissue passing: You may pass fetal tissue, which can be identified as blood clots or pieces of tissue.
- Severe Infection: Incomplete abortion can increase the risk of infection, which can cause fever, chills, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- Fever and Chills: If you experience ongoing fever, chills, and diarrhea following an abortion, it could be a sign of an incomplete abortion.
Causes of Incomplete Abortion
Some incomplete abortion cases are linked to chromosomal abnormalities. The remaining cases are attributed to other modifiable causes. Incomplete abortion can be caused by various factors, including:
Incompetent Cervix: When the cervical tissue is weak, it can cause premature birth or the loss of a healthy pregnancy, a condition known as an incompetent cervix. Structural issues with the cervix can lead to its weakness, causing it to shrink and open up in the second or third trimester without any signs of labor. This can result in a late miscarriage, an incomplete miscarriage, or preterm labor before the due date.
Structural Abnormalities: Another crucial cause of incomplete abortion is structural abnormalities. Structural problems can prevent the pregnancy tissue from being completely removed. Some issues with the uterus, like uterine fibroids or birth defects, can make it more likely to have incomplete abortions.
Hormonal Imbalance: Incomplete abortion can also be caused by hormonal imbalances, such as low levels of progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone that supports pregnancy and helps maintain the uterine lining. If progesterone levels are too low, the uterine lining may not be able to support the pregnancy, resulting in incomplete abortions.
Unsafe Abortions: Unsafe or illegal abortions can be dangerous, and without proper medical supervision, they can lead to incomplete abortions, risking severe complications. It is crucial to seek safe and legal abortion services from qualified healthcare providers.
Misinformation: Misinformation about the proper use of abortion medication at home can lead to incomplete abortions, where some pregnancy tissue is left behind. This can cause complications such as infection and bleeding.
Also, obtaining the medication from unreliable sources or using an incorrect dosage are common causes when you do it all by yourself. In this situation, medical supervision via a telehealth abortion provider is crucial to ensuring the safe and effective use of the medication.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy: The National Library of Medicine (NLM) conducted a study that suggests that medical abortion is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective method of terminating a pregnancy. However, incomplete abortion is a possible side effect. Incomplete expulsion of pregnancy tissue can occur if the medications fail to work correctly, particularly in cases of advanced gestational age or if they are not taken as directed.
Treatment options for incomplete abortion
Expectant Management: In some cases, the body can expel the remaining tissue on its own. The doctor may recommend waiting a few days or weeks to see if the tissue passes naturally.
Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA): This procedure involves using a handheld device to remove the remaining tissue from the uterus. MVA is a safe and effective option for incomplete abortion and can often be done in an outpatient setting.
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C): D&C is a surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and the remaining tissue is removed from the uterus using a curette. This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and is more invasive than MVA.
Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to complete the abortion process. The doctor may prescribe misoprostol, a medication that helps expel the remaining tissue from the uterus.
Steps To Prevent Incomplete Abortion
There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of incomplete abortion, including:
Seeking medical care: It is essential to seek medical care from a qualified provider for any type of abortion.
Following medication and post-procedure instructions: For medical and surgical abortion procedures, it is important to follow all medication and post-procedure instructions provided by the healthcare provider.
Monitoring symptoms: You should monitor their symptoms after an abortion procedure and seek medical care if they experience any concerning symptoms.
Access to abortion pills: In some cases, abortion pills can be a safe and effective option for terminating a pregnancy. It’s important to have access to safe and legal abortion pills through qualified healthcare providers.
Immediate Access to Abortion Care: The leading walk-in abortion clinic, Her Smart Choice, offers facilities where patients can receive immediate care with an immediate or same-day appointment. This can be an important option for those who need urgent care.
Telehealth abortion provider in California: Telehealth options can provide convenient and confidential access to healthcare services, including abortion care, for those who may face barriers to in-person care.
Incomplete abortion can be a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. You must keep in mind that the symptoms can range from mild to severe and can cause serious complications or infections. However, the information you have obtained from the above passages will help guide you in making informed decisions for a safe future pregnancy and a healthy reproductive lifestyle.
If you suspect that you may have had an incomplete abortion, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider as soon as possible. Being a leading women’s health center, Her Smart Choice offers a range of services, including walk-in appointments or telehealth at your convenience. So, don’t think more; just make a call with our experts and get satisfactory answers to your queries. Live a safe and healthy life!