If you suffer a third degree tear, will you ever return to ‘normal’, and if so how long will it take?
How to help recovery of 3rd degree tears
A third degree tear needs to be sutured in theatre by a surgeon shortly after the birth.
Afterwards medical care should continue in order to aid the healing of the wound. This should involve medical practitioners giving the patient antibiotics to prevent an infection, and laxative to ensure easy passage of stools.
When discharged from hospital, a patient should be advised on how to promote healing. For example:
- Continue to take laxative to soften stools
- Don’t strain or push when defecating
- Only resume sexual relations when you feel comfortable
- Keep the wound clean
- Get air to the stitches
- Watch out for signs of infection
- Drink lots of water
There should be continuing care when the patient is at home, both from the Community Midwife and the GP. The tear should be regularly examined and action taken if any problems are noted.
How long for 3rd degree tears recovery
The stitches used to suture the wound will dissolve on their own within a matter of weeks. They do not have to be removed.
After that it is simply a matter of waiting for the body to repair itself. The exact recovery time will vary from person to person. Many say they remain in pain for one to three months, with residual discomfort for around six to nine months, particularly with regards to:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Standing or walking for long periods of time
- Having sexual intercourse
Even after nine months there may be some occasional discomfort in the scar tissue, which can feel like it drags and aches. However, most women found they feel ‘normal’ within a year, if not before.
Permanent symptoms from 3rd degree tear
As mentioned above, the scar tissue caused by a third degree tear can cause occasional discomfort, even in the long-term.
A small number of women will also have difficulty regaining normal anal sphincter function due to the damage that has been done. This might include trouble controlling the passage of wind and faeces.
Anyone who is still experiencing flatus/faecal urgency or incontinence should ask for a referral to a specialist. There may be an underlying injury that has not be properly repaired. If so, the clinicians who missed and failed to repair the injury will be deemed negligent, meaning there will be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact us to find out more.