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Health tips: “Vesicovaginal fistula”, causes and how it can be treated

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Vesicovaginal fistula, or VVF, is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (vesica) and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.

Vesico-vaginal fistula is a serious disability that can be experienced by women after childbirth. It is defined as a hole that develops between the vagina and the bladder, resulting in uncontrollable leaking of urine through the vagina.

The most common cause of vesico-vaginal fistula is obstructed labor, early marriage, poverty, and women’s limited control over the use of family resources.

Women and girls with this disability are often abandoned by their husbands and isolated from the community due to the smell and associated shame of urine leakage

WHAT’S THE TREATMENT?

Some fistulas may heal on their own. If it’s a small bladder fistula, your doctor might want to try putting a small tube called a catheter into your bladder to drain the pee and give the fistula time to heal by itself.

The Doctor might also want to try a special glue or plug made of natural proteins to seal or fill the fistula. Still, many people need surgery. What kind of surgery you get depends on the type of fistula and where it is. It could be laparoscopic, where your doctor makes small cuts (incisions) and uses cameras and tools. Or it could be abdominal surgery, where you get a regular incision with a tool called a scalpel.
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For a vaginal fistula that connects to your rectum, your doctor might:

  • Sew a special patch over the fistula
  • Take tissue from your body to close the fistula
  • Fold a flap of healthy tissue over the fistula
  • Fix the muscles of your anus if they are damaged

Your doctor will likely also prescribe an antibiotic to treat infection caused by the fistula.

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