The recovery from a hemorrhoid treatment or surgery typically lasts one to two weeks, depending upon the type of treatment, the severity of the hemorrhoids and the number removed. While some pain and discomfort is expected, most patients begin to feel better on the third or fourth day after surgery and continue to improve each day following.
The typical patient is able to return to non-strenuous activities a week after treatment, and resume all normal activities within two weeks.
More Information: All About Hemorrhoids and Treatment
Pain After Hemorrhoid Treatment
It is common to experience pain in the week following hemorrhoid treatment. Patients who have a hemorrhoidectomy, or surgery to remove hemorrhoids, will typically have more pain than a patient who elects to have sclerotherapy, a less invasive treatment. Your pain may be significant, or may be a feeling of discomfort.
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 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.
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.
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 bed pan 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 symptoms 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.
Infection After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Infection is a risk after hemorrhoid treatment due to the location of the treatment. Stool can come into contact with the site where the hemorrhoid was removed, and can contribute to an infection.
Bleeding After Hemorrhoid Surgery
Some bleeding is not uncommon immediately following your procedure. You may notice some blood in the toilet, or in your undergarments. A small amount of blood is not unusual; however, significant amounts of blood should be reported to your doctor.
Bleeding may increase with bowel movements, especially in the initial 48-72 hours following your procedure.
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. 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.
Hemorrhoid Surgery. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. Accessed June 2011. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002939.htm
Nelson H, Cima RR. Anus. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery.