If you are considering a medical abortion, there are different options you can choose to terminate a pregnancy. Two of the most common and successful procedures are abortion pills and medical surgery. There’s a lot of talk about abortion pills vs. surgery and which method works best and has fewer side effects. The truth is both procedures are equally legal and safe, and they present little risk. One of the risks of using abortion pills you must be aware of is an incomplete abortion. The signs of incomplete abortion after misoprostol (the most typically used abortion pill) can help you react fast and ask for medical assistance.
In this article, our professional abortion clinic will educate you about incomplete abortions after misoprostol: the symptoms, how to spot it fast, and what to do if you are experiencing one.
What Is an incomplete abortion?
An incomplete abortion after misoprostol is a rare complication, but it can sometimes happen when you decide to terminate a pregnancy. We’ll start by defining what an incomplete abortion actually is because the term can be confusing. Most patients think the abortion pill didn’t work, and they are still pregnant. Actually, when you experience an incomplete abortion, that doesn’t mean the abortion pill failed; in most cases, the pregnancy was terminated correctly. You had a complete abortion. What happens is that your body has not fully expelled all the content of the womb. You had a successful medical abortion, but some pregnancy tissue remains in the womb.
How common are incomplete abortions?
As mentioned, incomplete medical abortions are rare but still possible. It is not only possible for women that use misoprostol to end a pregnancy by choice but for those who have an early pregnancy miscarriage as well. Typically, incomplete abortions or other complications happen when pregnant women buy online or over-the-counter misoprostol. There is no guarantee the medication you purchase online actually has the drug it indicates on the label.
Incomplete abortions are less likely to happen after a surgical procedure since doctors make sure all the tissue is removed and you have a complete abortion. However, it can still occur if healthcare professionals do not do the surgical treatment. While an incomplete abortion is most common after misoprostol, it is still infrequent. Most women don’t have this or any other issue when terminating their pregnancy with abortion pills.
The chances of having an incomplete abortion decrease if you terminate your pregnancy as early as possible. That way, it is easier for your womb to empty itself. These are approximately the chances of experiencing signs of incomplete abortion after misoprostol:
- 1.6% up to day 77 of the pregnancy
- 2.6% between days 78 to 83
- 3.4% between days 83 to 91
What are the risks of having an incomplete abortion?
If left untreated by healthcare professionals, an incomplete abortion can lead to serious health complications. A common complication is infections; pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease, for example. This condition is more common among women who have a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, mycoplasma, or syphilis. Due to that reason, it is vital you get an RPR blood test to screen for STDs before a medical abortion.
A pelvic infection caused by an incomplete abortion can harm women’s reproductive system, potentially causing chronic pelvic pain, infertility, future ectopic pregnancies, and tubo-ovarian abscess. There are some of the symptoms you can develop due to a pelvic infection:
- Pelvis and lower abdomen pain
- Heavy or unusual vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain while urinating
- Pain during sex
- Fever, sometimes with chills
On the other hand, the severe bleeding symptom can cause a hemorrhagic shock – poor oxygen supply due to massive blood loss. And though uncommon, an incomplete abortion after misoprostol can potentially onset a septic shock. When your blood sugar levels from dangerously low due to an untreated infection, that can cause a life-threatening condition known as septic shock.
The symptoms of incomplete abortion after taking misoprostol
If you recently had a misoprostol abortion and some pregnancy tissue remained in the womb, that will turn into an incomplete abortion. Incomplete abortion after misoprostol can present itself with painful symptoms that will require medical attention. Typical symptoms of an incomplete abortion include:
- Heavy bleeding (more than the expected bleeding after a medical abortion)
- The bleeding doesn’t get lighter as the days pass
- Bleeding for over three weeks
- Severe low-bak and abdominal pain or cramps
- Pain that doesn’t go away after a few days
- High fever or fever that lasts more than a day or two
Symptoms or signs of incomplete abortion after misoprostol may vary from one woman to another, and you could only experience a few from the list.
How to treat an incomplete abortion
If, after having a medical abortion with vaginal misoprostol, you’re experiencing any of the symptoms from the previous list, you should immediately consult with a medical professional. Even if you don’t have specific or typical symptoms but notice something is going wrong or have unusual pain or discomfort, the best thing to do is reach out to a doctor right away. The best is to confirm or discard the possibility of an incomplete abortion as soon as possible.
After a medical abortion – with abortion pills or a surgical procedure – a follow-up consultation must be in order. Just like the annual physical exam checklist for females, a visit to your doctor after the abortion is always mandatory. Your healthcare provider will quickly identify complications, whether an incomplete abortion or other situations.
Doctors may want to perform an ultrasound to confirm the incomplete abortion diagnosis. If it is positive, they can present different solutions and recommend the most efficient one for your situation. Your healthcare specialist can prescribe you another dose of vaginal misoprostol to cause the womb to contact more and expel the remaining pregnancy tissue. In case that option is not suitable for you, the doctor may suggest proceeding with surgical treatment to clear out the womb fully.
Regardless of which procedure is best for you, what matters is that you attend a medical clinic as soon as you start developing symptoms.
Contact a professional abortion clinic
Incomplete abortions are uncommon, but they can still happen. Our abortion clinic recommends lowering the risks by leaving your pregnancy termination in the hands of healthcare professionals in the first place. That way, you can ensure a complete abortion, and you’ll likely avoid any health complications. Medical abortions – with abortion pills or surgery – when performed by experienced physicians, can end pregnancies successfully without further complications. Did you attempt inducing an abortion with vaginal misoprostol on your own, and things didn’t go as planned? There’s no shame in that. Are you experiencing signs of incomplete abortion after misoprostol? Schedule a call or visit our clinic; our dedicated team will assess your situation and help you overcome any medical condition.