Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that can be internal, which means they’re inside the rectum. Or they can be external, which means they’re outside the rectum.
Most hemorrhoidal flare-ups stop hurting within two weeks without treatment. Eating a high-fiber diet and drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day can usually help you manage the symptoms by promoting softer and more regular bowel movements.
You may also need to use stool softeners to reduce straining during bowel movements, as straining makes the hemorrhoids worse. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter topical ointments to ease occasional itching, pain, or swelling.
Surgery to remove hemorrhoids is called hemorrhoidectomy. The doctor makes small cuts around the anus to slice them away.
You may get local anesthesia (the area being operated on is numb, and you’re awake though relaxed) or general anesthesia (you’re put to sleep). Hemorrhoidectomy is often an outpatient procedure, and you can usually go home the same day.
Because it’s highly sensitive near the cuts and you might need stitches, the area can be tender and painful afterward.
Recovery most often takes about 2 weeks, but it can take as long as 3 to 6 weeks to feel like you’re back to normal.
Care After Hemorrhoid Surgery (Hemorrhoidectomy)
Pain is the most common complaint, especially when you’re pooping. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, if your doctor says it’s OK. Soaking in a warm bath may help, too.
Stool softeners can make it easier to poop.
It’s very common and is considered safe. However, any surgery has some risks including:
- Reaction to anesthesia
You might have some trouble peeing afterward because of swelling or muscle spasms.
If your anal sphincter gets damaged during surgery, you could have accidental bowel or gas leaks, a condition called fecal incontinence.
After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Your doctor may choose to manage your pain in several different ways. Over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, may be recommended, or pain medication may be prescribed. Your physician may recommend a stool softener, a laxative, or both to prevent straining with bowel movements.
Dietary recommendations will be made to help prevent pain, including a diet high in fiber to soften the stool, and instructions to drink adequate water throughout the recovery phase, typically no less than eight cups (64 ounces) per day. It is absolutely essential to avoid constipation. That means following drinking water, eating fiber, and taking a stool softener when necessary. Talk to your doctor if you notice a change in stool appearance.
Regardless of the type of treatment, it is normal to have pain with a bowel movement in the week following surgery. Straining and pushing can make the pain significantly worse. Staying hydrated will help prevent constipation, which can be caused by prescription pain medications, a lack of fiber, or too little fluid.
Pain with urination may also be present. Stool softeners are typically recommended the first week after surgery to decrease pain with bowel movements.
It is important to let pain be your guide when resuming normal activities. You may feel pain when bending, squatting, lifting or moving from a standing position to a seated position. Minimize activities that are painful as much as possible, especially in the first few days after your procedure.
A sitz bath may be prescribed for pain relief. A sitz bath uses a special basin that is similar to a bedpan and fits over a toilet. You can then soak the rectal area in a few inches of warm water.
This may provide significant pain relief and can be done several times per day.
Itching After Hemorrhoid Treatment
Itching is a common symptom of external hemorrhoids and may continue during the healing phase after treatment. A sitz bath may be recommended to help with the itching. A topical medication may also be prescribed by your physician, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the location where the hemorrhoid was removed.
Itching is a normal sign of healing in a surgical incision or areas of scarring. Many topical hemorrhoid creams are very effective at relieving itching, ask your surgeon if it is appropriate to use these during your recovery as the answer varies between different types of procedures.
How can you postoperative care for yourself at home?
- Rest when you feel tired.
- Be active. Walking is a good choice.
- Allow your body to heal. Don’t move quickly or lift anything heavy until you are feeling better.
- You may take showers and baths as usual. Pat your anal area dry when you are done.
- You will probably need to take 1 to 2 weeks off work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions about eating after surgery.
- Start adding high-fibre foods to your diet 2 or 3 days after your surgery. This will make bowel movements easier. And it lowers the chance that you will get hemorrhoids again.
- If your bowel movements are not regular right after surgery, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fibre, a stool softener, or a mild laxative.
Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructionsabout taking any new medicines.
- If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to yourdoctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understandexactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- You may apply numbing medicines before and after bowel movements to relieve pain.
- Sit in 8 to 10 centimetres of warm water (sitz bath) for 15 to 20 minutes 3 times a day and after bowel movements. Then pat the area dry. Do this as long as you have pain in your anal area.
- Avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time or straining during bowel movements.
- Keep your anal area clean.
- Support your feet with a small step stool when you sit on the toilet. This helps flex your hips and places your pelvis in a squatting position. This can make bowel movements easier after surgery.
- Use baby wipes or medicated pads, such as Tucks, instead of toilet paper after a bowel movement. These products do not irritate the anus.
- If your doctor recommends it, use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on the skin in your anal area. This can reduce pain and itching after surgery.
- Apply ice several times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
- Try lying on your stomach with a pillow under your hips to decrease swelling.
Call your doctor right away if you:
- Are bleeding a lot
- Can’t pee or poop
- Have a fever
Life After Hemorrhoid Surgery
After your surgery, be sure to drink ample fluids, avoid straining with a bowel movement and to eat foods high in fiber even after your recovery. Avoid food you know to be constipating, such as cheese. Exercise, even something as simple as a 15-minute walk can decrease constipation by stimulating a bowel movement, as can twisting motions, such as those done in yoga and toe touches.
These simple steps can often prevent a recurrence of hemorrhoids or help you avoid further treatment. Not all hemorrhoids can be prevented, but following these dietary recommendations can significantly reduce the likelihood of forming additional hemorrhoids.
Some patients may experience incontinence of small amounts of stool after having a hemorrhoidectomy, or hemorrhoid surgery. This is typically a short-term problem and resolves within the recovery period. If you experience this complication and it does not improve in the weeks following surgery, be sure to notify your physician.