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Recognizing the Signs of Infection After an Abortion


Undergoing an abortion is a significant medical procedure that requires proper care and attention to ensure a safe recovery — one of the most concerning complications that can arise after an abortion is an infection.

Recognizing the signs of infection early on is crucial for seeking prompt medical attention and preventing serious health risks. In this article, we will discuss the common signs of infection after an abortion and the importance of monitoring your symptoms closely.

I. Understanding the Risk of Infection After Abortion

A. Infection Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing an infection after an abortion. These include underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, as well as improper aftercare following the procedure.

Additionally, certain abortion methods, such as incomplete abortion or unsanitary conditions during the procedure, can also heighten the risk of infection.

B. Types of Infections That Can Occur

Numerous types of infections can occur after an abortion, including but not limited to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometritis, and sepsis. These infections can lead to serious complications if left untreated, highlighting the importance of recognizing the signs early on.

II. Common Signs of Infection:

A. Fever

One of the primary indicators of infection post-abortion is the presence of a fever. A persistent or high-grade fever, typically above 100.4 °F (ca. 38 °C), especially when accompanied by other symptoms, could signify an underlying infection that requires medical attention. More about temperature in a Medical abortion.

B. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

Unusual vaginal discharge, such as foul-smelling or discolored discharge, particularly if accompanied by itching or burning, can also be a sign of infection. Any changes in the color, consistency, or odor of vaginal discharge should not be ignored, as they could indicate an infection. Learn about bleeding in a Medical Abortion.

C. Pelvic Pain or Tenderness

Persistent or worsening pelvic pain or tenderness following an abortion may be a red flag for an infection. Any discomfort that does not improve with time or pain that becomes severe can be indicative of an infection spreading to the reproductive organs and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. More about pain in Medical Abortion.

D. Abdominal Pain

Severe or localized abdominal pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications is another concerning symptom that warrants medical attention. Abdominal pain, especially when accompanied by other signs of infection, should not be ignored.

E. Unusual Symptoms

In addition to the abovementioned signs, other unusual symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chills, or extreme fatigue can also indicate an infection after an abortion. Paying attention to your body and seeking medical help for any concerning symptoms is crucial for a speedy recovery.

III. When to Seek Medical Help:

A. Prompt Action is Crucial

If you experience any of the signs of infection mentioned above after an abortion, it is essential to seek medical help promptly. Delaying treatment can lead to complications and worsen your condition.

B. Contacting Your Healthcare Provider

Contacting your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any concerning symptoms is crucial for receiving timely care. Your healthcare provider will be able to evaluate your symptoms, perform any necessary tests, and provide appropriate treatment.

C. Seeking Emergency Care

In cases of severe symptoms, such as uncontrollable pain, high fever, or signs of sepsis, seeking emergency medical care is imperative. Do not hesitate to go to the nearest emergency room or call emergency services if you believe your health is at risk.

IV. Preventing Infections After Abortion:

A. Follow Post-Procedure Instructions

Following post-procedure instructions provided by your healthcare provider is essential for preventing infections after an abortion. This may include taking prescribed medications, abstaining from sexual activity for a specified period, and avoiding baths or swimming pools. Learn about what is forbidden in a Medical Abortion.

B. Practice Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, keeping the genital area clean and dry, and using sanitary pads instead of tampons, can help reduce the risk of infections after an abortion.

C. Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your recovery progress and address any potential issues promptly.

Conclusion about Infection after an Abortion:

Being aware of the signs of infection after an abortion is essential for ensuring a smooth recovery and maintaining your overall health and well-being. By monitoring your symptoms closely and seeking prompt medical attention if needed, you can reduce the risk of complications and promote a successful recovery.

Remember to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and prioritize your health and safety during this sensitive time.

Source: Frequently Asked Questions about Fatal Infection and Mifepristone Medical Abortion.


Dr. Kopp Kallner. M.D. in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Columbia University Medical School.

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