Define Vaginal Tear

Vaginal tears are torn off tissues of vaginal muscles or vaginal skin. It is also called the perineal tear or laceration, which includes a tear between the anus and vaginal opening. 

During childbirth or vaginal delivery, there are certain alterations in the skin and vaginal tissues to accommodate a child. In response to hormonal stimulation, the vaginal skin thins out, allowing space for the head and the baby’s entire body. Appropriate spacing of the vagina or birth canal allows the child delivery without any serious trauma. Apart from all the preparations a body makes to receive the fully developed baby from the uterus, there may be certain conditions that lead to complications like vaginal tear:

  • 1. A large-sized baby.
  • 2. Abnormally quick delivery (giving no time for stretching vagina).
  • 3. Use of any equipment to assist in delivery.

Causes of Vaginal Tears

Various causes may lead to vaginal tears:

  • 1. In case of first delivery.
  • 2. A different face-up delivery of a baby
  • 3. Use of medical equipment like vacuum or forceps.
  • 4. An exceptionally large or heavier baby
  • 5. Episiotomy (incision made in the tissue between the anus and vaginal opening during childbirth)

How common are vaginal tears during birth?

Vaginal tears are very common during childbirth. These vaginal tears are also called perineal tears resulting from the baby’s delivery through the vaginal opening. The head of the baby has to come out from that small opening; therefore, there is stretching of the vaginal opening to the extent that it allows the baby to get delivered. In this process, some tearing of the skin around the vagina occurs that may be mild or more extensive. Mild vaginal tearing is healed on some days without any medication or treatment, while extensive vaginal tears may require attention and medication.

What complications may arise due to vaginal tears?

Various complications arising due to vaginal tears

  • 1. Painful intercourse 
  • 2. Unusual skin tightening
  • 3. Skin infection
  • 4. Faecal incontinence (trouble in controlling bowels)
  • 5. Intense pain in urinating
  • 6. Passage of blood clots
  • 7. Pain in the vagina, lower abdomen, and perineum

Treatment for Vaginal Tears

There can be various treatment options depending on the severity of the vaginal tear. There may be cases wherein there is no need to get any treatment. Minute vaginal tears get healed on their own.

There is a necessity to treat vaginal tears in case of severity. 

Treatment of severe vaginal tear include 

  • 1. Traditional stitching of vaginal tear 
  • 2. Surgical repair 

Treatment of vaginal tear based on the degree of vaginal tear:

First-degree vaginal tear– This mild tear affects only the surface of the vaginal skin. Such mild tears are easy to handle with home remedies until they get serious due to some microbial infections.

Second-degree vaginal tears- These type of tears affects both muscles as well as skin. They require stitching.

Third-degree and fourth-degree vaginal tears- Serious complication of vaginal muscle and skin that needs appropriate surgical treatment.

Certain home remedies allow quick healing and comfort like:

  • 1. Placing an ice pack on the sore vaginal area 
  • 2. Kegel exercises to boost circulation and speed healing
  • 3. Warm soak to relieve discomfort
  • 4. Maintain hygiene for accelerated healing
  • 5. Pain relievers, as advised by the doctor to relieve intense pain
  • 6. Take recommended oral or topical medications to help with infection 

How to prevent vaginal tears?

Various ways to prevent vaginal tears 

  • 1. Medical professionals should practise appropriate strategies for delivering the baby to minimize and prevent vaginal tears. 
  • 2. Having a gentle perineal massage to make muscles relaxed and prevent tearing
  • 3. A warm compression to ease the delivery
  • 4. Appropriate lubrication also prevents vaginal tears.

When to seek medical advice?

Medical advice should be taken in following conditions:

  • 1. In case there is a vaginal tear at the time of delivery that persists
  • 2. If the vaginal tear is causing pain and bleeding 
  • 3. In case you fear the infection in and around the vaginal tear. 
  • 4. In case of intense perineal pain
  • 5. If you are losing control of your bowel 
  • 6. Health issues because of a vaginal tear

Vaginal Tears Healing Ointment

Numerous topical ointments for vaginal tear healing to soothe the vaginal area. Some topical ointments that can be applied include the antibiotic -Bacitracin to prevent microbial infection and Aquaphor to heal vaginal tears faster.

Vaginal Tear Healing Time

Most of the women get relief from pain caused by the vaginal tears in at least two weeks. If there is a complicated vaginal tear, it needs treatment by stitches, and they take more time to get healed, at least 5-6 weeks.

Stages of perineal Wound Healing

  • 1. Healing of 1st-degree wound
  • 2. Healing of 2nd Degree

1st-Degree Tears

First-degree vaginal tears give superficial vaginal wounds like small cuts and abrasions that do not need stitching and heal on their own in a few days. During recovery from a first-degree vaginal tear, there may be 

  • 1. Perineal pain
  • 2. Soreness
  • 3. Stinging while urinating 

2nd-Degree Tears

The second-degree vaginal tear is beyond the skin surface and a little deeper than the first-degree tear. This requires stitching and will take a little longer to heal. The recovery of this stage, vaginal tear causes

  • 1. Intense pain
  • 2. Stinging urination

3rd-Degree Tears

Third-degree vaginal tears are potentially significant, extending from the vaginal opening to the anal muscles. These are comparatively serious vaginal tears but get healed without causing major complications. Sometimes they may lead to certain problems of 

  • 1. Bowel functioning
  • 2. Bladder incontinence
  • 3. Sexual problems
  • 4. If there is inflammation and itching around the vaginal area, intercourse becomes difficult and painful. In such cases, it is important to inform and get a consultation from the health experts or health care providers. These cases may need a month to heal entirely. 

Glamyo health provides free gynaecologist consultations to females to help them with all their reproductive health problems. In case of discomfort and surgery requirements, Glamyo health has added the advantage of a free pick and drop facility for the patient in need. 

4th-Degree Tears

Fourth-degree vaginal tears are complicated ones involving the rectum lining and its mucous membrane along with the anal sphincter. They need surgical treatment after giving anaesthesia and need several months for appropriate healing. Severity is most intense in forth degree vaginal tears. 

What is the healing time of a 2nd-degree perineal vaginal tear?

Second-degree vaginal tears are more complicated than first-degree vaginal tears; therefore, they need stitches and proper medication. They take at least 2-3 weeks to get healed completely. During the healing or recovery period, the patient may experience a stinging sensation while urinating and little pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I heal vaginal tears quickly?

To heal vaginal tears quickly, and get relief and comfort from vaginal tears, the following can be applied:

  • 1. Warm soaks (towel soaked in warm water and applying it to the area of pain)
  • 2. Sitz baths (Sitting in a shallow bathtub to help with the itching and pain and clean perineum )
  • 3. Maintain proper hygienic conditions to accelerate the healing process.
  • 4. Take pain relievers for intense pain.
  • 5. In case of vaginal tear infection, take recommended antibiotics-tropical and oral antibiotics.

What are your tips for healing vaginal tears?

Few tips to heal vaginal tear

  • 1. Apply ice pack
  • 2. Have balanced diet
  • 3. Adequate sleep is a must 
  • 4. Apply coconut oil
  • 5. Wear loose clothing 
  • 6. Keep vaginal area clean and hygienic
  • 7. Change maternity pads regularly
  • 8. Mild pelvic floor muscles
  • 9. Have stool softeners

What makes a vaginal tear keep increasing?

Vigorous thrusting and pressure on vaginal tissues increase the vaginal tear. It leads to increased friction due to forceful sexual activity leading to vaginal drying and vaginal tears. The severity of vaginal tears needs to give proper medical attention to prevent worsening vaginal tears. Increased bleeding, swelling, excess pain, and a large number of cuts in the tissues of the vagina are exaggerated signs of vaginal tears. They need to be addressed by the gynaecologists immediately. 

What is a vaginal cuff, and what causes vaginal cuff tears?

A portion of the vagina at the opening of the peritoneum that is sutured after performing a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus as well as cervix) is called a vaginal cuff. The hysterectomy procedure occasionally causes vaginal cuff tears at any point after the hysterectomy.

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