If you have suffered a third degree tear, what effect will the injury have later on in life? In this article we explore the effects of the ageing process on third degree tears.
Recovering from third degree tears
Third degree tears are serious perineal injuries that can be sustained during a vaginal delivery. Factors that increase the risk of a third degree tear include a first-time mother, a larger than average baby, an episiotomy and an assisted delivery.
If a third degree tear does occur, the injury should be repaired shortly afterwards. Most women will then go on to make a good recovery. Unfortunately, some will develop faecal urgency and leakage. This can happen to any patient, although it is most common in women who had a poor repair, or who did not have any sort of repair because the injury was missed by medical professionals. This will amount to medical negligence.
If a third degree tear does lead to complications, a number of treatment options are available, including biofeedback, a secondary repair and sacral nerve stimulation. This may improve a patient’s symptoms, but sadly no treatment for faecal incontinence guarantees complete continence.
Third degree tears in later life
Even if a patient’s symptoms do improve, it is possible that the level of continence will deteriorate later in life. Normally this occurs around about the time of the menopause due to the effects of the ageing process on the structures of the pelvic floor, and also the lack of oestrogen which affects the elasticity in the tissues.
If a patient does become symptomatic in the future, she would require further intervention initially by means of pelvic floor physiotherapy, biofeedback and medication in order to moderate stool. A possible alternative method would be a form of colonic irrigation to empty the bowel.
Should these conservative techniques fail, the most likely further intervention would be to use a sacral nerve stimulator. This is a relatively new technique but has proved extremely effective in patients who have developed faecal incontinence and there is no anatomical possibility of repairing the sphincter.
If you have been the victim of a missed third degree tear, you could be entitled to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim. This would provide you with the finances needed to pay for private treatment in the future, should your symptoms deteriorate. To find out more, please get in touch with us today.
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