A perineal injury when giving birth can lead to devastating on-going bowel symptoms.
Severe perineal tears
A small percentage of women are unfortunate enough to suffer severe injury during the vaginal birth of their baby. Whilst a small perineal tear is not uncommon, a 3rd or 4th degree tear is much more serious and can cause significant and life-changing physical and psychological problems.
Causes of bowel problems in childbirth
As the baby is born, the vagina and perineum (area around the vagina) will need to stretch to allow the baby to pass through. Where the baby is large or with an instrumental delivery, this can sometimes cause more extensive damage affecting the woman’s anal sphincter – the muscles which control the bowel.
Symptoms of a severe obstetric injury
Consequently, the woman can be left with the following highly-distressing symptoms:
- Incontinence of faeces or leakage via the bowel
- Incontinence of wind via the bowel
- Extreme urgency when needing to go to the toilet
Occasionally, the injury, or failure of its repair, can cause a fistula to develop between the bowel and the vagina. This is an abnormal passage between two parts of the body not normally connected. In this instance, a rectovaginal fistula may develop allowing wind and faeces to leak via the vagina instead of the bowel.
Understandably such injuries can also impact on the woman psychologically and affect her personal and sexual relationships.
Repairing an obstetric anal sphincter injury
If a woman suffers a 3rd or 4th degree tear, it is crucial that the injury is recognised promptly after the birth and repaired by a skilled surgeon in an operating theatre. This will give the woman the best chance of a full recovery.
Where such an injury is not diagnosed, a repair will not take place and the woman is likely to start experiencing some of the above symptoms.
Where a repair takes place but is inadequately or incompetently carried out, the repair may break down and symptoms reappear.
On-going symptoms of this nature can dramatically impact on the woman’s life affecting her ability to work, travel, socialise and bring up her baby.
Where these symptoms are seen to be the result of poor medical care, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.
Speak to a solicitor
Contact us to discuss your situation with a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you are suffering with the appalling symptoms of an unrepaired severe perineal injury.
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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.