After a third degree tear, a patient may experience a loss of normal function. There are normally three main complaints: bowel dysfunction, bladder dysfunction and sexual dysfunction.
Ordinarily the main complaint associated with a third degree tear is bowel dysfunction. This is much more prevalent in women whose tear was not diagnosed and repaired to a good standard after the birth. This will be deemed negligent.
A woman may find that she opens her bowels regularly and has looser stools than previously. There may be faecal urgency with the inability to defer defecation for very long (sometimes for more than a few minutes). As a result there may be a reluctance to venture far from home due to the need to reach a toilet at short notice. There may be incontinence to flatus and liquid stool, while some will also be incontinent to solid stool, necessitating a pad for protection. Clearly this will affect a patient’s lifestyle, particularly with regards to social life, work life and domestic life.
There are treatments available for bowel dysfunction, although it is not certain that they will be entirely successful. Medication and a change in diet can help to create more formed stools. Sacral nerve stimulation and biofeedback can also be beneficial.
The loss of bladder control will not necessarily be related to the third degree tear, but rather to the damage suffered by the pelvic floor. Urinary urgency or incontinence may be improved with pelvic floor exercises.
Discomfort during intercourse is known medically as ‘dyspareunia’. This can be both superficial and deep and also associated with a post-coital ache. There may also be psychological factors at play, as many women will feel concerned about causing further damage, or may develop body image issues.
Psycho-sexual counselling may benefit those who are reluctant to resume sexual relations with their partner. Pain during intercourse can be improved with the use of lubricants, while steroid injections also have a high success rate.
Compensation for third degree tear complications
If you are suffering complications such as those described above due to a third degree tear, you need to find out what options are available. In addition to pursuing medical treatment, you may be able to obtain compensation for the injuries you have incurred. This will apply to those who have been harmed due to a substandard level of medical care – for instance, the tear was not diagnosed and repaired after the delivery.
To find out if you can claim for a third degree tear, please get in touch with us today.