Signs of an Incomplete Abortion


When a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it can be scary and she is faced with many choices. Making the choice to abort can be very difficult, but the thought of an incomplete abortion can be terrifying. Understanding the signs and symptoms of incomplete abortion can help women choosing abortion know when to seek medical intervention.

Signs and Symptoms Of An Incomplete Abortion

An incomplete abortion occurs when some of the pregnancy tissue remains in the uterus following a medically induced or surgical abortion. Signs of an incomplete abortion can vary depending on the severity of the situation, but they often include the following symptoms:

  • Heavy Vaginal Bleeding: Persistent or heavy bleeding that continues for an extended period or is heavier than a typical menstrual period.
  • Abdominal Pain or Cramping: Ongoing abdominal pain or cramping, which can be moderate to severe, may be due to the uterus trying to expel the remaining tissue.
  • Passage of Tissue: Incomplete abortions may involve the passage of blood clots or pieces of tissue from the uterus.
  • Foul-Smelling Discharge: Foul-smelling vaginal discharge may be a sign of an infection or retained tissue, and it should be evaluated promptly by a healthcare provider.
  • Fever and Chills: In some cases, infection can develop as a result of an incomplete abortion, leading to symptoms such as fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Pelvic Pain or Tenderness: Pain or tenderness in the pelvic region can be indicative of complications resulting from an incomplete abortion.
  • Fatigue: Excessive bleeding and discomfort can lead to feelings of weakness and fatigue.

It’s important to note that the above symptoms can overlap with other gynecological issues. Early detection and management are crucial for ensuring the safety and health of the affected individual, so it’s essential to seek professional medical attention immediately to determine the cause of these symptoms

What Causes An Incomplete Abortion

Several factors can cause or add to the risks of an incomplete abortion, including:

  • Medication Abortion: In the case of medication abortion (using mifepristone and misoprostol or similar drugs), an incomplete abortion can occur if the medications do not effectively expel all of the fetal tissue. This may require additional medical intervention.
  • Adhesions or Scar Tissue: Scarring or adhesions in the uterus, often from prior surgeries or infections, can interfere with the normal expulsion of pregnancy tissue.
  • Infection: Infections in the uterus can cause inflammation and scarring, preventing the complete expulsion of pregnancy tissue.
  • Uterine Abnormalities: Structural abnormalities of the uterus can sometimes impede the proper expulsion of fetal tissue.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal imbalances, such as insufficient levels of progesterone, can affect the uterine environment and may contribute to an incomplete abortion.
  • Incomplete Medical Procedures: In the case of a surgical abortion, an incomplete abortion can occur if all of the fetal tissue is not removed during the procedure.
  • Gestational Age: The stage of pregnancy can influence the likelihood of an incomplete abortion. In later stages, when the fetus and placenta are more developed, it can be more challenging for the body to expel all the tissue, potentially resulting in an incomplete abortion.

We Can Help

If you suspect that you may have an incomplete abortion, a healthcare professional can perform an ultrasound or other diagnostic tests to assess the status of the uterus and recommend appropriate treatment. Bella Medical Clinic nurses and Bella Support Services mentors are here to help. We will meet you where you are on your journey, through what can be a very difficult time. Call or text 920-231-6006 or schedule an appointment today!

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