If you have been left with a stoma after the birth of your baby, it may suggest that you had a traumatic birth or that your perineal injury has been poorly treated.
The anticipation of giving birth naturally – via the vagina – is not a notion that usually conjures up thoughts of incontinence and a colostomy operation. However, for a few unfortunate women, that becomes the reality of their experience and it may be because they have received substandard care.
Perineal trauma during childbirth
Perineal damage during the birth of a baby is not uncommon. Most women suffer a tear of some degree during labour. And, generally, competent medical professionals identify any damage and ensure that a thorough and appropriate repair is carried out.
The majority of women who suffer perineal trauma during childbirth have recovered fully from their symptoms within 12 months after the birth – or well before.
However, 5% – 10% of women have far more unfortunate experiences and can suffer long-term or lifelong symptoms.
Severe perineal tears
Severe perineal tears – known also as 3rd or 4th degree anal sphincter injuries – cause damage to the muscles that control the bowel.
At best, these injuries only damage the external sphincter muscle but, at worst, the internal anal sphincter and the internal lining of the anal canal can also be damaged.
Unless this damage is diagnosed and repaired promptly, the woman may start to experience both wind and faecal incontinence. If internal anal damage is missed and delayed surgery is necessary, the woman may require a colostomy bag to maintain the function of her bowel whilst any bowel repair takes place.
Sometimes it is not possible to undertake a surgical repair and the woman suffers with incontinence or urgency for the rest of her life.
It is not always possible to avoid perineal damage during childbirth but the best way to ensure that the mother recovers is for attending medical professionals to diagnose and treat any injury immediately.
Where perineal damage is misdiagnosed or poorly treated, leaving the woman with significant, long-term symptoms, it may be possible to pursue a claim for compensation.
Speak to a solicitor
If you are suffering with these distressing symptoms due to poor medical care, contact us to discuss your experience. We are a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors specialising in perineal tears 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.