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


      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.


      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.


      Anal sphincter laceration is associated with anal incontinence 5-10 years after delivery.

      Key words

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