The World Health Organisation (WHO) had described fistula as"the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth." But what exactly is fistula?
The word "fistula" is a collective medical term for any abnormal connection between two bodily organs. In the case of obstetric fistula it is the result of pressure exerted by the foetal head in the pelvis during obstructed labour, a force that interrupts the blood flow to nearby tissues in the mother's pelvis, resulting in two classifications Vesicovaginal Fistula and Rectovaginal Fistula.
The two types of obstetric fistula that can occur are:
VVF occurs when the blood supply to the tissues of the vagina and the bladder is restricted during prolonged obstructed labour, the tissues die between these organs, forming holes through which urine can pass uncontrollably. VVF is also sometimes referred to in the literature as Vesico-vaginal Fistula and Vesico Vaginal Fistula.
RVF occurs in a similar way to VVF however, holes form between the tissues of the vagina and rectum, leading to uncontrollable leakage of faeces. RVF is also sometimes referred to as Recto-vaginal Fistula and Recto Vaginal Fistula.