Determining the Psychiatric Morbidity among Subjects with Vesicovaginal Fistula in Abakaliki, South East Nigeria

Background: Those who are affected by vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) face great obstacles. VVF has a negative impact on a woman’s personal hygiene, self-esteem, interpersonal interactions, and environment, causing her health to suffer. Subjects may struggle to cope and, as a result, develop certain mental diseases.

The goal of this study was to assess the psychological morbidity and sociodemographic correlations in VVF patients.

Materials and Methods: A total of 100 VVF patients were gathered from the National Obstetric Fistula Centre in Abakaliki, Nigeria. The socio-demographic features of the participants were assessed using a socio–demographic and clinical history questionnaire. The GHQ–28 version of the General Health Questionnaire was used to screen for psychiatric morbidity, with a cut-off point of 5 indicating psychiatric caseness. The Present State Examination (PSE) component of the Schedule for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry was used to interview all subjects who scored 5 or above on the GHQ-28 (SCAN).

The prevalence of psychological illness among VVF patients was found to be 48 percent. Major depression was found to be the most common psychiatric disorder, accounting for 37%, followed by generalised anxiety disorder (4%), dysthymia (5%), somatoform disorder (1%), and social phobia (1%).

Conclusion: Vesicovaginal fistula may be associated with psychiatric illness. Even if the fistula is repaired, this could obstruct full recovery. It is recommended that psychological problems be detected and treated early. It is suggested that health care workers in such settings be trained to recognise people who are suffering from mental illnesses and make necessary referrals.


Author (S) Details

David N. Nweke
Department of Psychological Medicine, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

Monday N. Igwe
Department of Psychological Medicine, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

Richard Uwakwe
Department of Psychological Medicine, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

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