Recovering After Hemorrhoid Surgery Treatment

The recovery from a hemorrhoid treatment or surgery typically lasts one to six weeks, depending upon the type of treatment, the severity of the hemorrhoids, and the number removed. Many patients indicate that the recovery from this type of surgery is very painful, and some pain and discomfort are expected for one to four weeks after the procedure.

Recovery Timeline

Most patients begin to feel better at the end of the first week, especially if the patient is able to keep their bowel movements soft or slightly loose. Pain can be significant if the stool becomes hard or if straining is necessary to have a bowel movement.

During the recovery, constipation should be avoided whenever possible. Remember that the pain medications that are often prescribed for the recovery period are also known to cause constipation, so someone who routinely takes constipation medication may need more than their typical regimen in order to prevent constipation.

The typical patient is able to return to non-strenuous activities a week after treatment, and resume all normal activities within two to three weeks.

Common Symptoms Following Hemorrhoid Surgery
Verywell / Cindy Chung

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. Hemorrhoid banding, an outpatient procedure, typically leads to minimal discomfort after treatments.

Depending on the type of procedure you choose, your pain may be significant or you may simply feel discomfort. The level of pain a patient experiences after this procedure relates directly to the type of procedure, how severe the hemorrhoids were prior to surgery, and the consistency of stool during bowel movements during the recovery period.

A surgery to treat a single small hemorrhoid using sclerotherapy may result in minor pain. A hemorrhoidectomy to remove multiple very large hemorrhoids may result in significant pain.

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.

Coping With Recovery

Your healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider may recommend a stool softener, a laxative, or both to prevent straining with bowel movements, especially in the first week after surgery. Pain with urination may also be present.

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.

Diet

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 8 cups (64 ounces) per day are recommended. Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice a change in stool appearance.

Return to Activities

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.

Fecal Incontinence

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 healthcare provider.

Itching

Itching is a common symptom of external hemorrhoids and may continue during the healing phase after treatment. Itching is a normal sign of healing in a surgical incision or areas of scarring.

A sitz bath may be recommended to help with the itching. A topical medication may also be prescribed by your healthcare provider, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the location where the hemorrhoid was removed.

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.

Bleeding

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 healthcare provider.

Bleeding may increase with bowel movements, especially in the initial 48 to 72 hours following your procedure. Passing blood clots should be reported to your surgeon unless you were told to expect this after surgery.

Infection

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.

Any sign of infection, which may include general signs such as a fever, or more specific signs such as the presence of pus, must be reported to your healthcare provider so it can be treated effectively.

Long-Term Recovery

After your surgery, be sure to drink ample fluids, avoid straining with a bowel movement, and 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you get hemorrhoid surgery?

Your healthcare provider may suggest surgery if you have large hemorrhoids, both internal and external hemorrhoids, or bleeding and pain that isn't managed with other non-surgical treatments. With small hemorrhoids, your healthcare provider will usually suggest lifestyle changes first, such as eating a high-fiber diet and drinking lots of water.

When can you drive after surgery?

You should make arrangements for someone to drive you home from surgery and in the days after the surgery while you have pain and discomfort. Avoid driving while you are using pain medication.

What should you eat after hemorrhoid surgery?

Your healthcare provider may suggest that you start with clear liquids on the first day after surgery, including broth, juice, clear soda, and popsicles. In the following days, eat foods that add fiber to your diet, including whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. Avoid foods that cause constipation, such as dairy, red meats, and processed foods.

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7 Sources
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