If you have a third degree tear when you give birth, you may experience certain symptoms in the months following the delivery. These will be exacerbated if your tear was not diagnosed and repaired.
Third degree tear symptoms
A third degree tear is when the perineum and external anal sphincter tear during a vaginal delivery. The injury should be diagnosed during a thorough examination after the birth and repaired by an experienced surgeon in theatre.
Even if the injury is properly repaired, a woman may continue to suffer symptoms in the weeks or months following the birth. These might include pain in the perineum, a heavy dragging sensation in the vagina, difficulty resuming sexual relations, recurrent infections and bleeding.
These symptoms should improve with time. Pelvic floor exercises are known to speed up the recovery process, while antibiotics should be taken for any infections that arise. Ordinarily within months a woman will be fully healed, although it is true that the appearance may be permanently altered, particularly if there is an episiotomy scar.
However, some women will have more serious problems which can last in the long-term. The most serious complication associated with a third degree tear is faecal urgency. This is because the tear extends in the anal sphincter. This will affect the function of the sphincter, making it more difficult to control the passing of faeces.
Most notably, it will be harder to defer defecation because the anal sphincter cannot contract properly, something which would normally allow someone time to reach a toilet without soiling themselves. This therefore results in episodes of faecal urgency, soiling and incontinence.
Incontinence after third degree tear
If you do become incontinent after a third degree tear, you should be referred to a specialist for further treatment. There are various treatments available, including sacral nerve stimulation, physiotherapy, a secondary surgical repair and biofeedback.
Furthermore, you need to question why this has happened to you. In some cases, it will be that a good repair was carried out in a timely fashion, but still incontinence occurs. In others, however, it will be that medical professionals failed to diagnose and repair the tear, leaving a woman with a defect in her anal sphincter. If this does happen, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
If you would like to know more about pursuing a medical negligence compensation claim for a third degree tear, please get in touch with us today.