Social and economic consequences of obstetric fistula: Life changed forever?

S. Ahmed, S. A. Holtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To summarize the social, economic, emotional, and psychological consequences incurred by women with obstetric fistula; present the results of a meta-analysis for 2 major consequences, divorce/separation and perinatal loss; and report on improvements in health and self-esteem and on the possibility of social reintegration following successful fistula repair. Methods: We conducted a review of the literature published between 1985 and 2005 on fistula in developing countries. We then performed a meta-analysis for 2 of the major consequences of having a fistula, divorce/separation and perinatal child loss. Results: Studies suggest that surgical treatment usually closes the fistula and improves the physical and mental health of affected women. Conclusion: With additional social support and counseling, women may be able to successfully reintegrate socially following fistula repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S10-S15
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Meta-analysis
  • Obstetric fistula
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social consequences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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