Bowel Incontinence From Childbirth Not Cured by Surgery
WebMD News Archive
"There is room for reasonable disagreement among physicians as to
whether it is advisable to overlap muscle tissue, [as was done by these
investigators]," Leslie A. Sharpe, MD, tells WebMD. "Another repair
technique ... sews into the sphincter's surrounding tissue. ... These two
techniques may differ in how well the repair holds up over time." Sharpe, a
clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of
Minnesota in Minneapolis and an attending physician at Health Partners and
Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., was not involved in the study.
"Awareness of ... fecal incontinence after vaginal delivery is
growing," Michael Moen, MD, tells WebMD in an independent interview.
"However, this study has limitations. For example, there was no information
for 14% of the patients. ... We don't know whether the patients' problems were
related to the repair or to other bowel problems." Moen is a staff
gynecologist at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago.
Women with mild symptoms may want to try conservative measures first, Norton
tells WebMD. These include reducing fiber and caffeine in the diet and Kegel
exercises, which involve alternately squeezing and releasing the sphincter
muscles to build their strength.
- Many women who undergo surgery to repair an anal sphincter damaged during
childbirth may initially experience relief, but go on to have bowel problems
- Researchers suggest that only those with the most severe symptoms should
opt for the surgery, while those with mild symptoms should consider
- A forceps-assisted birth, large baby, and position of the baby during
delivery can increase the risk of damage, and episiotomy does not help to