Life after hemorrhoid surgery is not the same as before but poses many challenges which require numerous lifestyle adjustments.
How well a patient complies with them sets the tone for the whole process of recuperation. If the compliance level is high, one can quickly come back to the regular way of living with a minimized risk of potential post-surgery complications.
What To Expect After Hemorrhoid Surgery?
The most common complication after hemorrhoid surgery is pain in the anal area which affects up to 71% of the patients . Not only is it burdensome on its own yet it also contributes to urinary retention which is the second most common post-surgery repercussion and occurs in up to 17% of the patients .
Sometimes, there appears slight bleeding from the anus, especially if one had fourth-degree hemorrhoids. On a positive note, all of these side effects should subside with time and the better one complies with a new lifestyle, the faster it happens.
How Is The Hemorrhoid Surgery Recovery Process?
The post-hemorrhoidectomy recovery process covers the whole period from the immediate post-surgery phase up to the time when the tissues are completely healed and the unpleasant repercussions had already subsided.
During it, all of the taken measures should address the earlier mentioned complications. Alleviating the pain is the major challenge of the recovery process as it both improves one’s comfort of living as well as it positively influences the other post-operative symptoms like urinary retention and problems with defecation.
When one is in pain, the nerves send signals to contract the urinary bladder sphincter and the gut smooth muscles so that one cannot freely urinate nor defecate .
On the other hand, there exist other measures that can be taken specifically to mitigate problematic urination and defecation like medication, posture adjustment and appropriate diet.
Day by day, the symptoms should waver and the pre-operative range of daily activities should come back.
How Long Is The Hemorrhoid Surgery Recovery Phase?
The hemorrhoid surgery recovery phase approximately lasts up to 4 weeks nonetheless the time of disappearance of particular post-operative symptoms varies greatly by individual .
The pain in the anal area, the most common side effect, commonly lasts for 2 to 4 weeks in total and with it, the normal urinary bladder and gut function come back. However in some cases, it can take up to 2 months to urinate and defecate freely again.
When it comes to returning to your regular lifestyle, after 1 to 2 weeks you should be able to do most of your normal pre-operative activities and come back to work.
Nevertheless, any strenuous physical effort is completely forbidden during this period.
How About Some Hemorrhoidectomy Recovery Tips?
Pain control is pivotal to successful post-hemorrhoidectomy recovery.
Typically, oral painkillers are prescribed by a doctor to be taken by a patient regularly. Almost in all cases, the drugs from the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs group (NSAIDs) are sufficient and the most effective [1,2,3].
It is important to abide by the doctor’s recommendations with regard to their frequency of use and under no circumstance not to administer more than the prescribed amount.
It can result in unpleasant and even dangerous side effects including exacerbated bowel problems, vomiting and nausea. At the same time, there are other well-documented ways to tackle post-hemorrhoidectomy pain:
- Topical Anesthetics
Topical anesthetic creams, which typically contain fast-acting lidocaine and/or prilocaine are an effective remedy for the pain in the anal area .
The most prominent results are observed immediately after hemorrhoidectomy and its use entail no adverse reactions.
- Other Topical Medications
Besides lidocaine and prilocaine, other topical medications have been proven successful in alleviating anal pain. They include antibacterial metronidazole, sucralfate and baclofen [2,3].
At the same time, diclofenac has shown the strongest anti-inflammatory activity as well as a notably long analgesic effect duration time .
- Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a substance with natural anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Additionally, its post-hemorrhoidectomy application has been shown to accelerate wound healing and alleviate pain as well as other unpleasant sensations such as burning .
For these reasons, using it topically in the anal area is one of the best ways to take care of the surrounding tissues.
- Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
Vitamin E or tocopherol is one of the strongest antioxidants that man knows.
Simultaneously, it has extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties – according to numerous studies, it brings about great results when it comes to mitigating post-hemorrhoidectomy pain as well as effectively soothes the surrounding tissues .
Flavonoids are a diverse group of natural compounds that come from plants and possess potent antioxidant activities.
They inherently increase venous tone, decrease vascular permeability and improve lymphatic drainage hence greatly contribute to decreasing local inflammation in the tissues.
Research shows that because of these characteristics, they are a superb alternative for alleviating post-hemorrhoidectomy pain [2,3].
You can both apply them topically in the form of cosmetics as well as increase their consumption in your diet. For instance, eat more flavonoid-rich foods like dark leafy vegetables and dark berries.
- Sitz Baths
It is recommended to sit in 8 to 10 centimeters of warm water for 15 to 20 minutes 3 times a day and after bowel movements to naturally diminish the resting pressure of the anus.
It helps regain its proper function [2,5].
In order to accentuate the analgesic properties, a small study advises applying a surgical glove filled with warm water to the perianal area four times a day.
- Constipation Prevention
It is crucial to restore proper bowel function and defecation process after hemorrhoid surgery.
In this case, commonly available laxatives have been shown to be effective [2,5]. Simultaneously, increasing your fiber intake also helps immensely.
Daily Habits After Hemorrhoid Surgery
When you are resting or sleeping, it is beneficial to lie on your stomach with a pillow under your hips to decrease swelling and help the natural healing process of the tissues .
By lying this way, there is no additional pressure applied to the operated area. At the same time, it is great to adjust your posture when defecating.
Supporting your feet with a step stool helps you flex your hips and places the pelvis in an advantageous squatting position. It takes off pressure from the anal area and makes bowel movements easier after surgery.
Being active is highly recommended and helps the recovery process. Simultaneously, it is important not to overburden yourself, not to carry heavy things, not to move too fast and to rest as soon as you start to feel tired.
The changes of pressure in the healing area may notably hinder recuperation.
It is recommended not to return to your regular workout routine for at least two to four weeks post-surgery. Nonetheless in the meantime activities such as walking, kegel exercises, yoga and other flexibility exercises are good alternatives.
Following the diet recommended by a doctor is imperative. The general rule is to incorporate more fiber into your foods approximately 2 to 3 days after the surgery. Not only does it make the bowel movements smooth and easy again but it also lessens the risk of reacquiring hemorrhoids in the future.
At the same time, avoidance of spicy foods is recommended. Capsasin, a substance that is abundantly found in chili peppers, elicits burning and pain by activating vanilloid receptors on the sensory nerve endings in the human skin and mucosa.
There exist studies which have shown that consuming chili post-hemorrhoidectomy on a daily basis visibly increased the incidence as well as the intensity of anal burning and pain .
Foods To Eat After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Berries; the more intensive the color, the better (it means more flavonoids)
Dark leafy greens like kale
Tea, especially green (it has more antioxidants)
Lots of water; at least 6 – 8 glasses a day
Foods Not To Eat After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Processed foods like pizza, frozen ready-to-go food
Foods that are high in simple sugar
Caffeine-rich foods and drinks in high amounts
- Anal Area Hygiene
Keep your anal area clean to propel the healing of the tissues as well as to prevent infection.
Use baby wipes or special pads instead of regular toilet paper after a bowel movement as these products do not additionally irritate the anus.
Take showers or baths as usual and gently pat the area dry once you are done.
When Does The Bleeding Stop After Hemorrhoidectomy?
Bleeding after hemorrhoidectomy is normal and if it does not happen in immense amounts nor cause any symptoms like fatigue. Normally it should subside within 1 or 2 months .
Generally it does not need to be reported to a doctor. However excessive blood drain or weakness should not be neglected.
What Could Go Wrong In The Recovery Phase After Hemorrhoid Surgery?
- Your urinary function could not return to normal. If you cannot urinate for half a day you should report it to your doctor so that a catheter is inserted in the urethra and the bladder. Urinary retention can have serious consequences including infections.
- Increased temperature may be a sign of an ongoing infection and should be immediately reported to a doctor .
- In rare cases, the bleeding may be too immense and can cause symptoms like fatigue . This should be consulted with a medical professional.
- The symptoms of anal stenosis or a narrowing of the anal canal may become present [3,6].
They are a result of an overzealous hemorrhoidectomy and include pain during defecation, hardship when defecating, small caliber stools, fecal impaction as well as incontinence.
Mild Hemorrhoid cases can be easily treated with dietary modifications, stool softeners and fiber supplements. But moderate and severe piles often require surgical intervention.
The recovery period after hemorrhoid surgery lasts up to 1 to 2 months depending on the individual. During this period of time, certain lifestyle adjustments should be implemented in order to help the healing process.
Most importantly, the pain should be relieved as it not only improves one’s comfort of living but it also influences one’s urinary as well as bowel function.
The unpleasant surgical repercussions subside with time and once gone, one may fully return to their regular daily activities.