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A fistula is a connection within the body between two hollow organs - birth passage (vagina) and stool passage (rectum), birth passage (vagina) and urinary bladder etc.

When the fistula occurs as a result of a complication during the process of delivery it is called an obstetric fistula.

Reasons:
A fistula between the vagina and urinary bladder may occur in cases of prolonged labor. This happens when the baby's head gets stuck at the opening of the womb for a long time. A fistula between the vagina and the rectum may occur during the process of delivery when a cut near the opening of the birth passage gets extended.

Symptoms:
A fistula with the urinary bladder causes continuous dribbling of urine through the vagina. This is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections and the continuous stench of urine. A fistula involving the rectum causes passing of stools, gas or foul smelling discharge through the vagina.

Precautions:
Knowing the causes, appropriate obstetric management can prevent the occurrence of a fistula. In most cases the delivery is unsupervised or being performed by an inexperienced medical person.

Treatment:
In almost all cases, the treatment is by surgery, which is usually done from the passage below.


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