Complete rupture of anal sphincter in primiparas: long-term effects and subsequent delivery

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2011 Mar;90(3):258-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2010.01037.x. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anal Canal / injuries*
  • Anal Canal / innervation
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Fecal Incontinence / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gravidity
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / psychology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Puerperal Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture / epidemiology
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult