Controlling the passing of wind can be difficult after giving birth. This should resolve with time, although some women with a sphincter defect may continue to experience problems.
Incontinence of Flatus
In medical terms, wind is known as flatus. Incontinence of flatus is not uncommon after a vaginal delivery. This is because the anal sphincter muscles are put under significant strain during labour, especially while the baby’s head is being delivered.
Consequently the elasticity of the muscles can be adversely affected, reducing an individual’s capacity to control the passing of wind. This can of course be embarrassing, and may also be associated with some faecal urgency or soiling.
Incontinence of flatus does often resolve over time, although some women will find that function never fully returns to pre-birth levels.
Long-term incontinence of flatus
Some women, however, will experience long-term incontinence of flatus. This is particularly common in patients who sustain a severe tear, meaning either a third or fourth degree tear.
Even if a fourth degree tear is repaired to a good standard shortly after the birth, there is some doubt as to whether incontinence of flatus can be avoided.
On the other hand, if a third or fourth degree tear is missed, it is very likely that a woman will develop complications, including difficulty controlling the passing of wind. She may also find it hard to defer the passing of stools, resulting in episodes of faecal incontinence.
If complications do arise because a third or fourth degree tear was missed by medical practitioners, the standard of care will be considered unacceptable.
Claiming for perineal tear complications
If you have developed problems such as incontinence of faeces and flatus because medical practitioners failed to diagnose your perineal tear, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.
Doctors and midwives should be competent enough to detect a serious tear and refer a patient for an immediate repair. A failure to do so will amount to a breach of duty. If this causes a patient to suffer harm – such as continuing faecal urgency and incontinence of flatus – there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Speak to a lawyer
To find out more about claiming compensation for a missed third degree tear, please get in touch with us today. Our clinical negligence lawyers specialise in third and fourth degree tear claims, and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.