An abortion can lead women to experience a wide range of emotions. The reasons to end a pregnancy may be anything, including the health of the mother. But getting an abortion is always tough for women. According to a study published on The Lancet, about 15.6 million abortions happened in India in 2015. Post-abortion also women tend to have many doubts and questions. One of them is when they will get their first period after abortion. Let’s find out what an expert has to say about the effect of abortion on the menstrual cycle.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Meenal Patvekar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, DPU Private Super Speciality Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, to find out all about periods and abortion. She says abortion is an important component of healthcare, and need for preventing a pregnancy with appropriate contraceptive method must be stressed more than just undergoing an abortion.
Periods after abortion
Some women have depression after an abortion and sometimes, they are just anxious about certain things. For instance, post-abortion, there is generally an anxiety about the first period. In most cases, it is nothing serious and menstruation returns to normal within four to six weeks from the date of abortion, says Dr Patvekar. But there has to be a good interplay of hormones by the endocrine system. The first menstrual cycle after abortion maybe heavy with pain, but eventually things settle down by the next cycle. When it comes to women undergoing medical abortion, which is an alternative to surgical abortion, ovulation returns to normal relatively early. And so, women must use an effective contraceptive option.
In a majority of women, the flow and frequency are unaltered after an abortion. But women having polycystic ovary syndrome, obesity, thyroid disorders or diabetes mellitus, menstrual cycles may come after a longer interval, and maybe at times with a heavy flow. You should be concerned if post-abortion periods
are very heavy and prolonged, accompanied with or without pelvic pain and fever, says the expert. This definitely calls for a gynecologists’ consultation.
Don’t get confused between your period and post-abortion bleeding. There are times when bleeding happens after a medical abortion. It is associated with the presence of products of pregnancy and is heavy. You will also feel pain in the lower abdomen, but it settles down within seven days, says Dr Patvekar. In
cases of a surgical method of abortion, bleeding is minimal and lasts for one or two days and has nothing to do with pain.
Things to keep in mind after getting first period post-abortion
You can always follow up with a gynecologist on the arrival of menstruation post-abortion.
• There is always a possibility that it may be associated with a heavy flow. If menstruation does not arrive at the end of six weeks, a gynaecologist can check for post-abortion complications.
• Continuous bleeding or spotting post-abortion also means you need help of a gynaecologist. The possibility of retained products of pregnancy needs to be evaluated.
• Post-abortion if there is irregular bleeding, pain and fever, the woman
needs to consult a gynaecologist in order to rule out any infection.
Abortions do not affect the future pregnancies or fertility. However,
recurrent termination, especially surgical can cause scarring of the
uterus. Also, after an abortion, you may spot some changes in your menstrual cycle, but they shouldn’t always be a reason for you to worry.