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4th degree tear

(8 Posts)
loobsie Sat 08-Oct-11 20:24:40

hi everyone, newbie here. was advised to come and ask ya wise women for advice.
i had a baby 11months ago and had been diagnosed with a 3rd degree tear. long story cut short... i have been having faecal incontinence since dd2 was 3-4months old. i got told 2 days ago when a pelvic floor specialist reviewed my case that i had in fact suffered a 4th degree tear! i am in so much shock. i'm upset and angry i wasn't told before.
can someone tell me please that there is life after a 4th degree tear... and most importantly - how do i cope with it?

RubyrooUK Sat 08-Oct-11 20:52:37


So sorry you've been having this awful time. But don't despair - there is life after a 4th degree tear.

I had a 4th degree tear due to the hospital basically managing my birth really badly (it was a multiple flashing light situation!). Anyway, baby is fine but I ended up with this horrible tear, which I was very shocked about. I had never even considered that having a baby could result in this kind of injury.

I've been very lucky and am not incontinent (it is 14 months post-birth) but I definitely don't feel like I did before. My muscles still feel weaker than before but I've worked quite hard to make sure it doesn't cause me any more trouble than necessary.

Basically, I think it is down to:

- the stitching I received at the time, which many medical professionals have complimented me on (ugh!);
- doing post-natal pilates rigorously from 12 weeks on until 8 months with someone qualified in this area;
- seeing the hospital physio;
- keeping up exercises at home;
- having a lovely internal scan of the whole bum area with a stress test and seeing the consultant who had some more tips on life/exercises;
- I eat quite a healthy diet.

My friend also had a 4th degree tear and has suffered many of the same symptoms as you. She felt very upset (obviously) after her experience and refused to go back to see the hospital physio/do pilates/have any scans because she was just so traumatised by the whole experience.

Anyway, she also reports that when she eats badly and drinks loads, the incontinence is much, much worse (that's why I included the bit above about the diet). She has recently lost some weight through healthy eating and reports that it has improved things for her.

So....have you seen the hospital physio? Or tried post-natal pilates? Those would be the first things I would try, along with being as healthy as you can. Sorry if you have always done all those things and this is no help at all.

loobsie Sat 08-Oct-11 21:57:48

hi rubyroouk, i do have a good diet and i have particularly noted what suits and gives (TMI) best stool consistency to avoid faecal staining after a bowel movement. i haven't tried pilates. i don't even know what that is, is it like yoga? i am currently seeing physio.

RubyrooUK Sat 08-Oct-11 22:32:44

Hi there,

I don't think you can have TMI when you've had a 4th degree tear. I've lost all shame with the amount of medical professionals who have seen me. I'd tell the bus driver about it. I'd probably show him the scars. smile

Pilates is a bit like yoga but the difference I would say (as an ignorant person trained in neither) is that yoga seems to me to have lots of spiritual bits, whereas pilates is purely physical and about building strength.

Anyway, after I had the baby I went to a pilates studio where the instructor was trained in post-birth injuries. The physio at the hospital recommended it when she discharged me. We did lots of exercises aimed at helping with muscle control and just general strength. Lots of time doing exercises not dissimilar to the physio but in a more relaxed environment (in my experience).

I don't think the pilates as one sole thing was revolutionary but in combination with everything else, it did at least build my fitness up again a bit.

It sounds like you are on the right track with the physio and monitoring your diet. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I just wanted to post and let you know that you are not the only person out there that this has happened to. I hope things improve. X

first1 Sun 09-Oct-11 01:09:58

I had a 3a degree tear but also had physio with a birth injuries specialist and anorectal physiology strength tests of the sphincter so know a little. My baby is 16months and haven't suffered faecal incontinence but when I gotta go, I gotta go! blush Really though there's no such thing as tmi on here. My friend suffered a 3c/4th degree tear with urethral tear and is incontinent of urine. She is receiving bladder training. I wonder if there is something similar perhaps offered by a colorectal surgeon to help train the anal sphincter??

chesticles Sun 09-Oct-11 22:56:21

There is a thread in the General Health topic called The Ragged Bits where I found lots of support and advice after my third degree tear. There definitely is life after a 4th degree tear!

loobsie Wed 12-Oct-11 09:24:28

thanks chesticles, i found the thread after you suggested it and have already gotten great support there. thanks smile

loobsie Wed 12-Oct-11 09:26:17

first1, i'm being referred to colorectal surgeon and am awaiting an apt. i'll def ask although i'm sure thats why i'm sent to physio! thanks for your reply and i'm sorry to hear you had 3a tear, and your friend... OUCH!!

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