Obstetrical anal sphincter laceration and anal incontinence 5-10 years after childbirth.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.28). 06/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.06.055
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the long-term impact of anal sphincter laceration on anal incontinence. STUDY DESIGN: Five to 10 years after first delivery, anal incontinence and other bowel symptoms were measured with the Epidemiology of Prolapse and Incontinence Questionnaire and the short form of the Colorectal-Anal Impact Questionnaire. Obstetric exposures were assessed with review of hospital records. Symptoms and quality-of-life impact were compared among 90 women with at least 1 anal sphincter laceration, 320 women who delivered vaginally without sphincter laceration, and 527 women who delivered by cesarean delivery. RESULTS: Women who sustained an anal sphincter laceration were most likely to report anal incontinence (odds ratio, 2.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-4.26) and reported the greatest negative impact on quality of life. Anal incontinence and quality-of-life scores were similar between women who delivered by cesarean section and those who delivered vaginally without sphincter laceration. CONCLUSION: Anal sphincter laceration is associated with anal incontinence 5-10 years after delivery.

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    ABSTRACT: Pelvic floor disorders affect women of all ages and are associated with significant economic burden and poor quality of life. Current literature suggests an association between childbirth and these disorders. In this review, we summarize recent advancements in our understanding of this association. Vaginal childbirth appears to be strongly associated with stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. There is less evidence to suggest an association between vaginal delivery and overactive bladder symptoms. History of more than one perineal laceration increases the likelihood of developing prolapse. Similar association has not been established for episiotomy. Disruption or denervation of structural components of pelvic floor support system, particularly levator ani muscle complex, is associated with later development of pelvic floor disorders. Imbalance in homeostasis of connective tissue remodeling of the vaginal wall from overstretching during childbirth is another possible mechanism. Pelvic floor disorders represent a significant health problem affecting women of all ages. Identification of potential modifiable risk factors and advancement in understanding of the underlying pathophysiology is crucial for primary and secondary prevention of these disorders and for improvement in treatment strategies.
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