Slide show: Vaginal tears in childbirthBy Mayo Clinic staff
Third-degree vaginal tear
Third-degree vaginal tears involve the vaginal tissues, perineal muscles and the muscle that surrounds the anus (anal sphincter). These tears sometimes require repair in an operating room — rather than the delivery room — and might take months to heal. Complications such as fecal incontinence and painful intercourse are possible.
To ease discomfort in the meantime:
- Sit on a pillow or padded ring.
- Pour warm water over your vulva as you're passing urine, and rinse yourself with a squeeze bottle afterward. Press a clean pad firmly against the wound when you bear down for a bowel movement.
- Cool the wound with an ice pack, or place a chilled witch hazel pad between a sanitary napkin and the wound.
- Take pain relievers or stool softeners as recommended by your health care provider.
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