Chapter 3 – A Shameful Condition: Obstetric Fistulas | Women's Health

“According to the best available data, 50,000 to 100,000 women develop fistulas every year, and at least two million women and girls are suffering from fistulas at any given time.i (It’s widely believed that these numbers are significantly lower than the reality). Most women develop fistulas young, many in their teens. And while not immediately life-threatening, fistulas bring profound consequences.

Women living with a fistula are frequently relegated to life as an outcast. A husband will turn his wife out of the house, parents will refuse to help her, and co-wives or neighbors will ridicule and ostracize her. In places where a woman’s life is entirely dependent on being part of a family, expulsion can make survival extraordinarily difficult. If she doesn’t find help, she will bear this burden for the rest of her life, and help in many places is unavailable.”