Before coming home from hospital make sure you’re clear about:
- What you should eat and drink
- How to manage pain
- How to care for your wound
- Your level of activity
- Driving (don’t forget to also check with your car insurance company in case they have any restrictions following an operation)
- Symptoms for which you should seek further medical attention
- Any changes to your regular medication
Recovering from haemorrhoid surgery can be very painful, as your bowel movements pass over the operated area.
What you should eat and drink
Keeping your movements regular and semi-soft will reduce your discomfort and prevent further haemorrhoids. A high-fibre diet will reduce your need to strain while having a bowel movement. You can help by eating plenty of wholegrain cereals and at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. You should drink at least two litres of fluid a day, including plenty of water.
A fibre supplement can also help increase your fibre intake. You may be prescribed opioids for post-operative pain relief and these medicines reduce gastric motility, so in this situation a stimulant plus stool softener (coloxyl and senna) is usually preferable. Fibre supplements on top of normal dietary fibre can end up causing a problem with increased stool bulk, bloating and pain.
If you’re in pain, take the medication prescribed or recommended by your doctor. In addition to a high fibre diet, your surgeon may also recommend taking a laxative or stool softener to make bowel movements less painful. For extra relief you can apply an anaesthetic-based cream before each bowel movement.
After each bowel movement, wipe with moist towelettes or wet toilet paper. Wash the area with warm water each day, starting the day after your surgery, unless your surgeon or nurse advises against it. You can do this in the shower or by sitting in the bathtub. You can also use a sitz bath (available from pharmacies) which is a small pan, a bit like a bedpan that fits over the toilet. Fill it with warm water and soak for 15 minutes to ease the pain and swelling.
A small amount of bleeding or discharge from your anus is quite common. You may need to wear a pad (panty liner) for a few days. The blood loss may increase after each bowel movement. This will gradually reduce over the next few weeks.
Level of activity
Increase your level of activity gradually. Most people need 1 to 3 weeks to return to their full range of activities. Try to get up and walk at least every hour during the day to reduce the risk of blood clots. You’ll want to minimise activities that are painful as much as possible, especially in the first few days after surgery.
Returning to work
Follow your surgeon’s advice about how much time to take off work. Most people need at least 1 to 2 weeks off work.
You’ll need to make a follow-up appointment with your surgeon, probably after 6 to 12 weeks, to check on your results.
Watching out for problems
You should call your surgeon if you experience:
- Blood loss that suddenly increases or becomes bright red
- No bowel movement for several days
- Severe pain after a bowel movement