Results of a Survey to Evaluate Whether Vaginal Delivery and Episiotomy Lead to Perineal Involvement in Women with Crohn's Disease

Lawrence J. Brandt, Scott G. Estabrook, John F. Reinus

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111 Scopus citations


Crohn's disease frequently affects the perineum, but it is unknown if such involvement poses a heightened risk to a woman with Crohn's disease undergoing vaginal delivery and possibly episiotomy. This study attempts to elucidate whether vaginal delivery with or without episiotomy: 1) predisposes to perineal involvement in women with Crohn's disease; 2) reactivates quiescent perineal Crohn's disease; or 3) worsens preexisting perineal Crohn's disease. Data were culled from questionnaires returned by 117 respondents contacted through newsletters of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. These surveys were then reviewed and tabulated to determine if any temporal and causal relationship existed between perineal Crohn's disease and vaginal delivery. Four groups were identified: group 1 (n = 56), with 128 pregnancies, had no history of perineal disease or subsequent perineal complication. Group 2 (n = 24) had 51 pregnancies. This group had no preexisting perineal disease, but 67.6% said they developed perineal Crohn's disease postpartum, 60% of which occurred within 2 months of vaginal delivery. Groups 3 and 4 were too small to evaluate (n = 4 and 5, respectively) and represented patients with preexisting perineal disease who had varying results after delivery. Overall, the rate of developing perineal involvement after vaginal delivery, usually with episiotomy, in patients with Crohn's disease and no preexisting perineal involvement (combining groups 1 and 2) was 17.9%. A high rate of perineal involvement seems to follow vaginal delivery with episiotomy in patients with Crohn's disease. Although this study has substantial methodological limitations, it does raise questions as to the proper obstetrical management of patients with Crohn's disease and highlights an intriguing relationship that deserves further and more rigorous study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1918-1922
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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