A perineal tear can result in ongoing problems, both of a physical and emotional nature. This can have an adverse impact upon personal relationships, sometimes causing them to breakdown.
Perineal tear complications
Third and fourth degree tears are the most severe types of perineal tear. A third degree tear involves the perineum and external anal sphincter, while a fourth degree tear extends into the internal anal sphincter.
Patients with a third or fourth degree tear stand a good chance of making a full recovery, but only if a good repair is carried out shortly after the birth. However, even if a high standard of care is achieved, it is possible that a woman will suffer ongoing problems. This eventuality becomes much more likely if the perineal tear was not diagnosed and sutured in the aftermath of the delivery.
Perineal tears can lead to permanent complications such as faecal urgency, faecal leakage/smearing, faecal incontinence and the inability to control the passing of wind (flatus).
These physical difficulties often have a knock-on effect upon a patient’s emotional well-being. Many will report the onset of depression and anxiety, will be reluctant to leave the house for fear of an accident, and will be hesitant to resume sexual relations.
Because of these physical and psychological injuries, women with perineal tear complications can experience problems with their personal relationships.
Needing to be close to a toilet all the time will limit someone’s social life, and they may feel so worried or embarrassed by their symptoms that they do not want to socialise. This can cause friendships to deteriorate.
Relationships with a partner or husband can also be badly affected. A woman may not want to resume sexual relations, either because of the pain or for fear of having an accident during intercourse.
There may also be some body image issues as a perineal tear can change the appearance of the genitalia. Some women may even be left with a colostomy bag. All this can put immense strain upon a relationship, potentially causing it to break down.
In such cases, a woman and her partner may benefit from psycho-sexual counselling.
Compensation for emotional damage
If you have suffered complications because doctors failed to diagnose and repair your perineal tear, you will be entitled to compensation to reflect the injuries you have endured. This covers both the physical and psychological damage you have wrongfully incurred.
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