Vesicovaginal fistula: a review of nigerian experience

West Afr J Med. 2010 Sep-Oct;29(5):293-8. doi: 10.4314/wajm.v29i5.68247.


Background: Vesicovaginal fistula is a preventable calamity, which has been an age-long menace in developing countries.

Objective: To review the causes, complications, and outcome of Vesicovaginal fistula in Nigeria.

Methods: Studies on Vesicovaginal fistula were searched on the internet. Information was obtained on PubMed(medline), WHO website, Bioline International, African Journal of Line, Google scholar, Yahoo, Medscape and e Medicine.

Results: Many Nigerian women are living with Vesicovaginal fistula. The annual obstetric fistula incidence is estimated at 2.11 per 1000 births. It is more prevalent in northern Nigeria that southern Nigeria. Obstetric fistula accounts for 84.1%-100% of the Vesicovaginal fistula and prolonged obstructed labour is consistently the most common cause (65.9%-96.5%) in all the series. Other common causes include caesarean section, advanced cervical cancer, uterine rupture, and Gishiri cut. The identified predisposing factors were early marriage and pregnancy, which were rampant in northern Nigeria, while unskilled birth attendance and late presentation to the health facilities was common nationwide. Among the significant contributory factors to high rate of unskilled birth attendance and were poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, restriction of women's movement, non-permission from husband and transportation. All but one Nigerian studies revealed that primiparous women were the most vulnerable group. Pregnancy outcome was dismal in most cases related to delivery with still birth rate of 87%-91.7%. Stigmatization, divorce and social exclusion were common complications. Overall fistula repair success rate was between 75% and 92% in a few centres that offer such services.

Conclusion: Vesicovaginal fistula is prevalent in Nigeria and obstetric factors are mostly implicated. It is a public health issue of concern.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Black People
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / etiology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / surgery
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / complications
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / epidemiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / etiology*
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / surgery