Last updated on July 26th, 2018 at 05:40 pm
Question: What causes lower back pain and abdominal cramps after abortion? How long does pain last after an abortion?
All over the world, there are many reasons a woman will be determined to end her pregnancy. Sometimes, it could be due to an unwanted pregnancy after having an unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner. Other times, it could be at the request of your doctor after counseling because of the risk the pregnancy poses to her health.
Either way, whether it’s your decision or not, there are many risks involved when you are trying to terminate a pregnancy and it’s important you inform your doctor first, and then, ask necessary questions about technique and complications.
During the first three months of pregnancy (that is the first trimester) it’s quite easy to have an abortion. In fact, an abortion done before 7 weeks of pregnancy (or 49 days) is less commonly associated with short or long-term postabortal complications.
Nevertheless, an abortion can take place anytime, and if you informed your doctor late in the second trimester, you should be aware that you are at a higher risk of complications from the procedure.
One common side effect of an abortion is lower abdominal cramps and back pain.
The truth is a sharp pain on the right side, left side or lower abdomen is not abnormal right after an abortion. This occurs because of uterine contractions and it’s a natural protective way your body prevents excessive blood loss and also expel fetal tissue completely.
Cramping and bleeding after abortion is not unusual and could happen after a medical or surgical termination of pregnancy.
Having said that, cramps after abortion may indicate something more serious. If you are also experiencing fever, foul-smelling discharge, lower back pain, body weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, then something is wrong.
Pelvic inflammatory diseases, endometritis, salpingitis, cervical trauma, and uterine rupture may cause you to have belly cramp weeks after an abortion.
This article explains possible causes of cramps and lower back pain after abortion, when it’s abnormal, and when cramps may mean something more serious.
Are cramps after abortion normal?
Immediately after an abortion, you will begin to understand some changes to your body.
First of all, the feeling of guilt sets in and you feel you’ve acted in a wrong way. Sometimes, a lot of women will end their pregnancy because of pressure from family members, husbands, boyfriends or even peer groups.
After the successful removal of your baby, that feeling of guilt could be around for one or two weeks. It’s important you stay strong or talk to a counseling center close to you.
Another problem that you will experience is cramps in your abdomen. This pain may be mild, moderate or severe, and while some women will complain of a dull short-lived recurrent pain, others will experience severe cramps that may stop them from routine daily activities.
It’s important you see your doctor if you’ve taken abortion pills on your own. Pain relief medications are essential to prevent excruciating pains after an abortion.
However, it’s still common that you will have cramps while on these pain relief, though they will be mild and less severe.
Finally, vaginal bleeding will be a new friend after an abortion. Depending on the type of abortion technique used and the age of pregnancy, you may have a light or heavy vaginal bleeding for about 2 weeks.
If you are bleeding after an abortion, its nothing you should worry about yet except its prolonged and heavy causing you to change your pads twice in an hour.
If this happens, it’s important you see a doctor right away.
How long does cramping pain after abortion pills (misoprostol) last?
Misoprostol tablets, commonly called Cytotec, are used for the ripening of cervix, and also, for an abortion. These tablets are prostaglandin E1 analogs, that when used with mifepristone and methotrexate, will effectively terminate a pregnancy.
If you’ve used misoprostol alone, you can expect pain in your lower abdominal and back pain for one or two weeks. Sometimes, it could be longer, and misoprostol success rate for an abortion is quite low when used alone compared with combination with mifepristone.
Generally, if you are having cramps 2 weeks after abortion, it may be due to retained products of conception. This causes your uterus to intermittently contract to force out remaining fetal tissue.
If cramping and bleeding continue after 2 weeks, you should see a doctor for examination. Most times, your doctor will evacuate your womb through a suction tube or D & C.
If you don’t see a doctor, you will continue to bleed for a long time, and the truth is, it’s risky if you lose too much of blood. Signs of excessive blood loss are body weakness, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, fast heart rate and dizziness.
Cramps and lower back pain after abortion: When to worry?
Remember that after an abortion, it’s okay if you experience abdominal cramps for one or two weeks. Pain will be very severe if you’ve failed to use pain relief medications.
However, in some women, these severe pain may be an early sign of possible complications. It’s important you are observant of any changes and quickly inform your doctor. Here are some signs you that indicate something’s wrong
1. Bleeding and cramping more than 2 weeks after abortion
If you are cramping one week after abortion, it’s not abnormal that you will feel this way. In few days time, you will notice bleeding gets lighter and eventually stops.
After a medical abortion, that is after the use of misoprostol tablets, your body may fail to remove fetal tissue completely. If this happens, it’s likely you will continue bleeding for 3 or 4 weeks after a miscarriage.
It’s important you inform your doctor.
High body temperature after an abortion is one quick way to tell if you have an infection or not. Other ways are a smelly discharge that is yellow green, persistent abdominal and back pain, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, painful urination and fast heart rate.
Having said that, transient fever is common right after an abortion with Cytotec, and in few hours, you will feel okay.
This is the inflammation of the lining that coats the inside of the uterus (endometrium). It can occur after an abortion and cause you to have a fever, lower abdominal tenderness, irregular vaginal spotting and reddish brown discharge.
Talk to your doctor if you experience these symptom weeks after an abortion. Broad-spectrum antibiotics like ciprofloxacin will help fight infections (sepsis).
4. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
After an abortion, infections can spread to different parts of your reproductive tract resulting in lower back pain and belly cramps.
If infections spread up and affect your fallopian tube, uterus, inner pelvis and ovaries, you will experience cramps for weeks or months.
Right-sided pain after abortion can occur from inflammation of the right ovaries and fallopian tube. Likewise, a left-sided pain after abortion can occur after inflammation of the left ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Other symptoms you will experience during a pelvic infection are
- Smelling vaginal discharge
- Fever (temperature more than 37.2ºC)
- PAin during intercourse
- Pain while urinating
- Back pain
5. Trauma to uterus and cervix
If you had a surgical abortion through a D & C, a sharp instrument might cause injury to the walls of the uterus and cervix resulting in bleeding and cramps.