STANFORD, Calif. - A single dose of antibiotics can significantly aid healing of the severe tearing that occurs in vaginal tissues during many births, according to researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, the Stanford University School of Medicine and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The study is the first to show that the simple treatment can prevent many of the short- and long-term repercussions of this relatively common complication of childbirth.
As many as one in five women suffer severe vaginal tears during childbirth. In the study, those who received the antibiotic endured roughly one-third as many infections or other wound-healing complications two weeks after surgical repair of their tears.
"Recovery from these tears can be painful and problematic," said Packard Children's obstetrician Yasser El-Sayed, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and associate chief of maternal-fetal medicine at the School of Medicine. "If you add an infection, or a breakdown of the surrounding tissues, it's a huge burden on the emotional and physical well-being of a new mother."
El-Sayed and Kay Daniels, MD, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, are co-authors of the research, which is published in the June issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Neena Duggal, MD, from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, is the lead author of the study. The study is accompanied by an editorial in the same journal.
"This is very important news that will likely change obstetrical practice nationwide," said Maurice Druzin, MD, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Packard Children's and the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor in the School of Medicine.
Vaginal tears, which occur between the vagina and the anus, are classified in severity according to their length. Third-degree tears extend into the muscle of the anal sphincter and fourth-degree tears reach
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Stanford University Medical Center