Objective: To study long-term effects with respect to anal incontinence, pain, attitude to and mode of second delivery following complete rupture of the anal sphincter.
Design: Case-control study. Settings. Södersjukhuset, a university hospital in Stockholm.
Population: A case group of 136 primiparas who had experienced a complete rupture of the anal sphincter. Two matched control groups of primiparas, one of whom had cesarean section and the other a normal vaginal delivery.
Methods: The case women were examined and asked for symptoms of anal incontinence 3-6 months after delivery; 3-8 years later they and two matched control groups answered a postal questionnaire. Response rate was 89%.
Main outcome measures: Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and, as secondary end-point, the attitude to and mode of second delivery.
Results: Anal incontinence after delivery was reported by 31% in the case group, and at long-term follow-up by 54% in the case group, 21% in the cesarean section and 23% in the normal delivery group (p < 0.0001). A wish to postpone or abandon further childbirth was significantly more common in the case women (33 and 18%) than in the other groups, but about 60% delivered again in all groups. In the case group, the next delivery was by cesarean section in 49%.
Conclusion: At long-term follow-up after a complete rupture of the anal sphincter, anal incontinence was common and many women wished to postpone or avoid further delivery.
© 2010 The Authors Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica© 2010 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.