Poorly managed miscarriage may cause infertility, gynaecologists warn

Angela Onwuzoo

Citing various complications associated with poorly managed miscarriages, maternal health experts have warned women to avoid visiting untrained and unskilled health practitioners for treatment whenever they experience the condition.

The gynaecologists stressed the need for pregnant women who had a miscarriage to visit health facilities with maternal health specialists for appropriate treatment.

Miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks, is a common event that occurs in an estimated 15 per cent of all pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

They noted that visiting a gynaecologist for the management of a miscarriage was crucial to ensuring proper treatment and evacuation of the foetus as well as to prevent the risk of complications and infections, which could lead to secondary infertility or even death.

The experts warned that poorly managed miscarriage has been identified as one of the causes of infertility in women.

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018,  the country still records a maternal mortality ratio of 512 per 100,000 live births, which is a far cry from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH Healthwise, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Dr. Kamil Shoretire, said stated that miscarriage can profoundly affect the health and well-being of the mother, either from the complications of the process itself or from the complications arising from the treatment and management of the condition.

For those who survive a dangerous miscarriage, the gynaecologist says, there can be untold complications afterwards, including infertility.

Shoretire said, “It is always good for women who have miscarriages to go to the hospital where the experts are and they will be well taken care of.

“Apart from treating them, the experts will also counsel them. “They will tell them the possible causes of the miscarriage and what to do in preparation for the next pregnancy.”

The gynaecologist noted that by going to the hospital, the women would be well-educated and enlightened to know about the condition itself

“A woman that has a miscarriage cannot assess herself. So, the right thing for her to do is to go to the hospital.

“Some women will not know that they have things like diabetes. It is only at such a time that they have a miscarriage that it will be detected.

“So, it is always good for women who have miscarriages to go to the hospital where the experts are and they will be well taken care of.”

He also warned that poorly managed miscarriage could lead to an infection that might cause severe damage to the womb.

In a 2019 article published in PMC journal, titled, ‘Causes and Prevalence of Factors Causing Infertility in a Public Health Facility’, the authors said infertility affects roughly 10 per cent of the world’s population. The authors noted that the problem of infertility has become universal now, and thus, understanding the causes is the first step in solving this issue.

“In the population coming to a public sector tertiary care centre, the incidence of primary infertility is more than secondary infertility.

“Increasing age of marriage influences the causes with unexplained infertility and male factors more commonly seen as the age of marriage increases. Female factor remains the main cause of infertility followed by unexplained causes. Male factor is a significant cause of infertility with semen parameters being affected by age and by consumption of tobacco and alcohol”, the authors said.

Speaking in the same vein, an Associate Professor and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu State, Dr. Uche Agu, urged women who have fibroid to stop patronizing quacks and traditional homes for treatment to avoid exposing themselves to the risk of infertility.

Warning against the dangers of seeking help in unorthodox places and taking local concoctions, the gynaecologist said, “The problem with fibroid comes from people who are not experienced.

“They could injure the lining of the womb and the woman may not see her menses again. They may have complications. Those who have their tubes inadvertently removed may not be pregnant again.

“Some will even take those local concoctions and will never see their menses again. Some may take the concoction and it will knock off their ovaries and they will never see their menses.

“Some of the local concoctions get the fibroid matted together and by the time they come for surgery, it becomes difficult to operate. I have seen cases like that.”



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