FAQ Topic: Severe Perineal Tears

Can perineal tears be treated?

Yes. Corrective surgery provides effective treatment for women suffering from a severe perineal tear. If the operation is performed by a skilled surgeon, a woman with this childbirth injury can very often return to a normal life, with her continence and hope restored.

Women with severe perineal tears are poor and can’t afford the cost of their treatment. Fistula Foundation supports repair surgery for women living with this debilitating childbirth injury, which severely reduces quality of life. Reported cases of these painful tears are up, and today account for 20% of all surgical cases across our partner sites.  

 

What is a perineal tear?

Like obstetric fistula, a severe perineal tear is a debilitating injury that can occur when a woman in labor does not have access to adequate care. 

The perineum is the area between the vagina and the rectum. It’s common for this area to tear during childbirth, though the severity of the tear varies. Most first-time mothers giving birth vaginally will have first- or second-degree tears, which are small and often heal quickly on their own, or with minor stitches.

Third- and fourth-degree tears, however, are much more debilitating. These tears are deeper and require surgery or a longer healing time. In parts of Africa and Asia, where many women lack obstetric care during deliveries, these injuries often go untreated. Third- and fourth-degree tears may include a complete tear of the anal sphincter muscle, leaving a woman incontinent in feces. The effects of the injury mirror those of the most severe form of obstetric fistula, recto-vaginal fistula. 

 

 

 

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