The article was medically reviewed by Dr. Okhifun:
Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with nearly a decade of experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience creating health content for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, drug addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals. Currently, he is a part of the team at Labiaplasty NYC Gynecology Clinic.
Perineal tears or induced labor vaginal tears are one of every expectant mother’s nightmares. Women are always anxious when that topic is raised and would love to find out ways to avoid ever getting tears during childbirth. While there are so many things you can do to avoid perineal tears during labor, some factors could increase your risk; one such is induced labor.
During induced labor, your doctor would give you an IV infusion containing a medication called Oxytocin. This medication helps to contract your uterus to allow labor and delivery to take place. Although it is always advised to allow labor to commence naturally, in certain situations, your doctor may need to induce it with the drug. For example, if you have low amniotic fluid in your uterus or severe high blood pressure that puts you and your baby at risk of complications, your doctor may advise you not to wait for labor to start by itself.
Induced labor creates forceful uterine contractions that are often more painful and long-lasting than natural contractions. On the upside, your little one may be delivered sooner; however, on the downside, the forceful uterine contractions may cause tears in your birth canal and perineum as the baby descends.
5 Ways to have Speedy Recovery Perineal Tears
How you take care of perineal tears depends on the extent and severity of the tears. The tears could be as mild as just an injury to your genital skin. However, it could be so deep that it cuts through the underlying layers of the skin, including the muscles of the vagina. In more severe cases, the tear could extend from the vagina to the anal region.
Therefore, treatment for perineal tears depends on what kind you sustained during delivery. Here are some effective ways to treat perineal tears.
#1 Sitz Bath
Applying warm heat to the area of injury is an effective way of soothing the soreness in your lady parts and promoting fast recovery. In cases where the tear cuts through several layers of the skin, your doctor or midwife may pass one or more stitches to cover the cut areas neatly so you don’t have to worry about having a scar there. However, a sitz bath will help the stitched cut heal faster as well as soothe the soreness and discomfort you may be experiencing in the area.
You can either take a sitz bath in a bathtub or in a bowl. To take a Sitz bath in a bathtub, make sure the tub is clean and fill it with 3 to 4 inches of warm water. Add a little salt to it, then lower yourself down the tub and sit on the bottom of it. Remember not to let the water be too hot. Although the heat from the water may cause some pain at first, it will begin to soothe the pain after a few seconds in the tub.
If you would like to use a sitz bath bowl, place a clean plastic sitz bath bowl on the toilet rim, then fill it with warm water. Add some salt to the water, if your doctor advises, and then sit on it. The water should cover your perineum, otherwise, you should add some more water.
Sit in the water for about 15-20 minutes, then pat the area dry with a clean towel when you get up. Don’t rub or scrub with the towel as doing this may cause more injury and pain. Use a sitz bath up to three times daily to optimize its healing effects.
#2 Cold compress
While heat compress and Sitz bath help to soothe the soreness and discomfort in your lady parts after a genital tear, ice packs can also do the same. In addition to this, however, ice packs help to lower the other signs of inflammation in the area, such as swelling.
Apply the ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time to see these results. You may need to do this several times a day to see substantial improvement. However, you should cover the ice with a clean cloth to protect your skin from irritation. Furthermore, try not to leave the ice pack over the affected site for too long to avoid numbness and nerve problems in that area.
#3 Over-the-counter Pain Medications
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil, Tylenol, and diclofenac, are important to use after a perineal tear. These medications lower the inflammation in the affected area, thereby, soothing the swelling, pain, and discomfort in the area. A single dose of these medications may provide pain relief for several hours.
However, ensure to check with your healthcare provider before using any of these medications as you may have some health conditions that preclude their use. Also, some of these medicines may not be recommended if you are breastfeeding.
#4 Vaginal rejuvenation surgery
In cases of severe perineal tears, in which the tear cuts through deep layers of the vaginal skin, disfigures your vagina, or impairs sexual function, your doctor may offer you vaginal rejuvenation surgery.
Vaginal rejuvenation surgeries include procedures, such as vaginoplasty, labioplasty, and perineoplasty, in which the vaginal shape, appearance, tone, and tightness are restored after an injury. Vaginal rejuvenation surgery involves cutting off excess or loose vaginal lining or surrounding tissues and trimming them neatly. The procedure also involves vaginoplasty, in which the vaginal muscles and surrounding tissues are trimmed to become firmer.
You may also need vaginal rejuvenation surgery if you had vaginal tears that have healed badly. It could be because of problems with the way the tear was stitched or a vaginal infection that interfered with the healing process. In this situation, the poorly healed wound and scar tissue can disfigure the vagina and impair your sexual life with your partner. Vaginoplasty and labioplasty will remove these scar tissues and repair the tears neatly.
#5 Other Lifestyle Habits
Other essential habits to promote healing of a perineal tear include having lots of rest and dietary changes. While it may seem like a tall order asking a new mom to rest after childbirth, it is essential to promote healing of the injured perineal areas. Rest also includes avoiding sexual intercourse until the injury has healed completely.
Resting does not, however, prevent you from continuing your kegel exercises. Mild Kegels improve blood flow to the injured area and also lowers your risk of incontinence, which may occur after childbirth.
Your diet should focus on limiting factors that could delay the healing of the perineal tear. For example, eating foods that constipate you may cause you to strain when using the toilet. This, in turn, may put a lot of strain on the tear, delaying healing and possibly causing more injuries. So eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, take plenty of water, and take stool softeners if you feel you need one.
Further, make sure to keep your vaginal area clean and dry at all times to limit any infection in the area and expedite healing.
Perineal tears are injuries to your vagina and vulva that could complicate childbirth. These tears could happen for so many reasons, including having induced labor or having a narrow birth canal. Whatever the cause, perineal tears would cause a lot of discomfort for you in the days and weeks following delivery. Outlined in this article are simple ways to help you relieve these symptoms and get the affected area to heal up faster.
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