Our Service For You

Birth Injury Articles
Defect in My Sphincter  What Does It Mean?

Defect in My Sphincter What Does It Mean?

If you have just been told that you have a defect in your sphincter after giving birth, it means that you sustained either a 3rd or 4th degree tear.

Third and fourth degree tears should be diagnosed and repaired shortly after the delivery. If this did not happen to you, and your injuries have only just been detected, you could be the victim of medical negligence.

As the victim of negligence, you are eligible to pursue a medical compensation claim against those at fault.

I've just been told I have a gap in my sphincter

If you sustained a severe perineal tear during childbirth and the injury was not diagnosed or repaired, it is likely that you have gone on to develop problematic symptoms. Often these include the inability to control wind, faecal urgency, leaking faeces and soiling your underwear.

It may be that these symptoms have prompted medical practitioners to conduct further tests, and these have identified a 'gap' or 'defect' in your anal sphincter. What this means is that you suffered a perineal tear during childbirth. There are different types of tear, but if yours has extended into your anal sphincter, it means you have either a 3rd or 4th degree tear.

Third and fourth degree tears are severe injuries and they are supposed to be diagnosed and repaired shortly after the delivery. A midwife can make a diagnosis, but the repair must be conducted in theatre by an experienced surgeon.

If this does not happen, it means that you will be left with a gap or defect in your sphincter. Sometimes the situation can be confused because your tear might have been 'under-diagnosed', whereby you were treated for a first or second degree tear but actually had a third or fourth degree tear. In such cases, it means that the full length of the tear will not have been stitched and so you will have a defect in your anal sphincter.

What should I do?

If you have just found out that you have a gap in your sphincter from when you gave birth, you need to speak to a solicitor. It is highly possible that you have been the victim of medical negligence, giving you the option to pursue a claim for compensation.

Contact us today

For free legal advice on making a claim for a missed 3rd or 4th degree tear, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

Free enquiry

Free Claim Enquiry

Complete a short enquiry form and we will contact you.

Free enquiry



"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

» Read More Medical Negligence Testimonials?


Our Expertise

clinical negligence panel


Free Birth Injury Guide

Helping Clients throughout England and Wales

contact us