Developing anal incontinence after the birth of your child may suggest that you have experienced substandard care. It may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation if you have been left with severe dysfunction.
It seems astonishing that giving birth to a baby via the vagina can lead to severe and permanent incontinence. It is not unusual to suffer a tear of some degree during childbirth but, if this injury is diagnosed and promptly repaired shortly after the birth, most women should make a good recovery.
Where a severe injury is not noticed, however, a repair will not take place and the chances of recovery are severely diminished.
How does anal injury occur?
When a baby is born, it puts considerable pressure on the vagina and perineum between the vagina and anus to stretch. This can often lead to a tear of both the skin and muscle in that area.
In some circumstances, such as a first vaginal birth or where an assisted birth has been necessary, it is possible that the woman will suffer a more extensive and severe tear. Such tears are called 3rd or 4th degree tears and extend from the vagina as far as the anus. They can damage both the external and internal anal sphincter.
This type of injury can cause the woman to lose control of her bowels, effectively becoming incontinent of wind and faeces.
Avoiding anal incontinence
It may not be possible to avoid suffering a tear but it should be possible to avoid being left with permanent symptoms.
All women who give birth via the vagina should undergo a thorough examination of the perineum after the birth including a digital, rectal examination to check the condition of the anus.
A failure to do this by the attending medical professionals may lead to a misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all.
Anal incontinence can severely restrict the type of work that a woman can subsequently undertake. For many women, life with anal incontinence comes to focus almost entirely on their access to a toilet. Their social lives disappear and personal relationships come under considerable strain.
Where incontinence is found to be the result of a failure of examination and diagnosis after the birth of the baby, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.
Speak to a solicitor
Contact us today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you are experiencing these appalling symptoms.
We have supported numerous women in making claims for compensation for negligence around the birth of their child and would be happy to advise you.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.