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