An infection is the main reasons why a perineal tear repair would fail. In this article we explore infection after 3rd degree tear in more detail.
Why does infection happen after a 3rd degree tear?
A 3rd degree tear can readily lead to an infection. This either happens because a woman is suffering from an infection beforehand, or more commonly because bacteria get into the wound after the repair.
It is more likely that bacteria will get into the wound after the repair because of the location of the wound. Indeed, it is close to both the urinary tract and the anal sphincter, meaning bacteria can easily travel to the wound after urination/defecation.
It is for this reason that women are advised to take care when going to the toilet, making sure to keep the wound clean and dry.
Preventing infection after 3rd degree tear
A woman who sustains a 3rd degree tear during a vaginal delivery should be given antibiotics to prevent a wound infection. Ordinarily a patient will be discharged with a course of medication to finish.
However, there are times when a woman will develop an infection, despite having taken a course of antibiotics. When this happens, the perineum will be sore, red and swollen. It will also begin to ooze a foul smelling fluid.
Treating infection after 3rd degree tear
These symptoms are all highly indicative of an infection. A woman should have been advised of symptoms and told to seek medical attention immediately. Alternatively the infection may be detected by a GP or Community Midwife during routine check-ups after the birth.
If an infection is suspected, the patient should be started on antibiotics straight away. Swabs of the area should be taken and sent for testing. This will confirm the type of bacteria present which can then refine the antibiotic treatment.
Delayed treatment of infected 3rd degree tear
It is important that this treatment is given without delay. Otherwise the infection will cause the wound to breakdown and the effects of the repair will be undone. A patient will then be left with a defect in her anal sphincter.
A persistent defect in the anal sphincter can have a devastating impact upon function. For example, it may result in permanent incontinence of flatus (wind) and faeces. Another repair can be attempted, but repairs that are carried out some time after the delivery are not as successful.
Did doctors fail to treat your infection?
If medical practitioners failed to diagnose and treat your infection after a 3rd degree tear, please contact us to discuss the possibility of claiming compensation.