Gynecological complaints and war traumas. A study from Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1997 Apr;76(4):350-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.1997.tb07991.x.


Background: During the war in former Yugoslavia people endured great suffering. Although many had sought refuge in other countries, the majority remained within Bosnia-Herzegovina. Special service for women within the war zone was urgently needed. A Women's Therapy Center was established in Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina offering reproductive health services and psychosocial assistance. The aim of the study was to establish the most commonly occurring gynecological problems during different periods in the war and relate these to war traumas.

Methods: Information from 486 records of consecutive gynecological consultations in four different periods during in 1993/94 were retrospectively recorded.

Results: Vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, and amenorrhea were the most commonly occurring problems. A higher proportion of pregnant women requested legal abortion in the first period compared to later periods when the situation was improved. In 14 (3%) of the consultations a history of rape during the war was recorded. Additionally 42 (9%) had suffered from other types of war traumas. The reporting of war traumas was significantly related to suffering from pelvic pain (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The focus on the need of victims of rape during war has highlighted the need for reproductive services as part of emergency situations. The suffering of war traumas has to be taken into account in the handling of gynecological problems in this situation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal
  • Adult
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Maternal Health Services
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / epidemiology*
  • Rape
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Warfare*
  • Yugoslavia / epidemiology