I had my hemorrhoidectomy surgery on the 6th of June, which included the removal of three internal and three external hemorrhoids. In the weeks that preceeded the operation I found this site and got completely freaked out by some of the excerpts in the "Hemorrhoidectomy Blues" thread. I promised myself that if I survived and had a positive outcome I would post a thread.
It will have been three weeks tomorrow since my surgery and I will say it has been a very rough road, but overall I feel that for me it has been worth it. I still read excerpts from the "Hemorrhoidectomy Blues" thread, which has some great tips and really feel for those that have truly suffered for very long periods of time. Before the operation I thought that some of the people may be blowing things out of proportion, however, I don't think that so much now! A normal recovery course is quite difficult and painful, I think that even the smallest complication could be very debilitating.
That's why the first and VERY MOST important thing is to find a good surgeon. If you have any misgivings or "just don't feel right about it" formulate your emotions into clear questions (e.g. how many times have you performed the procedure, what are the typical complications experienced by your patients, what is your success rate) and speak to your surgeon!!! I have a Ph.D. in behavioral sciences and work with medical doctors and I have found that the best doctors/surgeons usually are willing to take time the answer all questions and answer them honestly. I had a great surgeon, with an exceptional track record, and great bedside manner. He took time to answer all my questions (which I had written down on a 3X5 card before our first meeting). He was honest with me and told me the surgery would be really painful, more painful than childbirth based on his previous patients experiences, and left the decision up to me. I found him by basically asking my PCP for "the best." I had to wait a while, but it was worth it!! Even though it is a pretty "normative" procedure, recovery without complications is painful enough.
The thing I really wanted to know before the surgery was "How bad is it--really?" I think I handle pain about average, although my surgeon says that I tolerate pain pretty well. One thing I got really freaked out about was taking the opiod pain medication (e.g. Vicodin) due to the constipation (which I had experienced with another minor procedure). So I went off the Vicodin within the first 48 hours (1 every four hours). I now have some second thoughts about that...I wonder that if I had taken 2-4 Colace a day for the first week if that would have kept my BMs soft enough to keep taking the Vicodin, which would have decreased alot of my discomfort. Also, I wonder if it would have helped to take a Colace the night before my procedure to soften my first BM (which happened the day after my surgery). That first BM really is pretty horrid, but what made it partly so bad is that it was hard, probably from that pain meds, and the Colace hadn't kicked in yet. Something to ask your sugeon about?
Also, while in the bathroom, it is helpful to have a bidet and something to hold onto. During my first 5 post-surgical trips to the bathroom I would get chills, and would have to keep moving my legs to keep my circulation going and keep from fainting...a foot stool (no pun intended) would have helped as well, so that there would be less pressure on my legs from the floor. For the first week to ten days I took enough Colace to basically keep things pretty loose, which helped. My doctor said that when going to the bathroom the first few times "it either feels like you are passing a house (without laxatives) or passing acid (with laxatives). So I went with the latter and I definately think it was the best choice in terms of preventing complications.
In terms of pain here is my daily breakdown:
Day 1: serious, intense pain, with occasional more painful spasms--definately take the pain meds. Tylenol PM helped me sleep through the night for the first 10 days.
Days 2-6: still very painful, difficulty walking, you dread going to the bathroom, and look forward to sitz baths and sleep. On day six (Sunday) following one horrible trip to the bathroom I noticed some red/orange "stuff" coming out of me and my pain level increased significantly. I ended up calling my surgeon's "on call" physician who was very short on the phone with me and told me not to worry. However, when the pain and the "stuff" increased throughout the day and into the evening I ended up calling the "on call" physician again and met him that night at Emergency. I will add that I immediately didn't like his attitude...he didn't listen to me. He took a look and told me that the red/orange stuff was mucus and that he was going to remove it and that it wouldn't hurt. LIAR!!! The mucus was attached to my stitches and my stitches were of course are attached to me. It certainly hurt. He also told me that I also had another external thrombosed hemorroid, which I was afraid that he was going to tell me. He told me he was going to cut it open and remove the blood clot. I immediately told him not to do it and that I would wait to have my surgeon take a look at things. I didn't like that the "on call" physician didn't listen to me or address my level of pain, which also didn't engender my confidence in him. Taking out the clot wasn't going to decrease the pain, which was my immediate problem. And the mucus was not a sign of infection or complications. He did not like my response and told me that he had been doing these procedures for 30 years, but I held my ground. He was not happy. However, as it turned out, my surgeon took a look, on day 8 and told me the I had made the right decision to come in (to rule out infection/complications) and also made the right decision not to have the thrombosed hemorrhoid removed, bc he said I did NOT have a new thrombosed hemorroid, but that it was swelling and that the "on call" physician had misdiagnosed it. I had suspected that since my major concern in coming to emergency was not knowing what the mucus was and the increased pain level--which basically resulted in me going back on the Vicodin for a day. I had noticed the "swelling" and hoped that it wasn't a thrombosed hemorrhoid, it had been going down slowly, so I wasn't so concerned about, which is why I wanted my surgeon (who I liked an truste) to take a look before anyone cut into me again.
Day 7: Start to feel better, (mainly bc back on Vicodin) more mobile. Just VERY excited to have made it through the week, but after my emergency visit decided to go on a "liquid diet" (with my surgeon's permission) which included Slimfast Shakes and soup.
Days 8-16: The physical pain decreases but begins to take a psychological toll, which makes the pain less tolerable. I didn't make as many gains in terms of the pain decreasing as I had the first week. I began to feel really discouraged bc I didn't know how long I was going to have to live in pain. My surgeon told me that some people go back to work after two to three weeks. I think he was being a bit optimistic. I won't be going back for at least six weeks, mainly bc my job is very fast-paced and demanding. Luckily my boss (whose brother had gone through this) told me to take as long as I needed and not to come back until I was 100 percent. So I am really blessed this way.
Days 17-18: Feeling pretty good, good mobility, drove for the first time to the store. Took a short walk. Unfortunately on Day 18 I had a setback.
WORD OF WARNING: On Day 18 I was feeling really good (e.g. had gone off the Colace, but still on the Metamucil twice a day, trips to the bathroom weren't very painful) so I decided to have three bites of my husband's cheeseburger and some tortilla chips. BAD CHOICE!! The next morning my BM was so hard (and very painful) that I ended up tearing part of the area around one of my stitches, which set me back in terms of pain about a week. So I am back on an all fiber diet and my new mantra is "no meat or wheat" at least for a while.
While of course everyone's experience is different, here are some things that I found helpful to do and keep in mind:
1. Before my surgery, I prepared a basket of things that I would need post-surgery (e.g. Colace, Metamucil, Milk of Magnesia, Anusol/Tucks, Extra Strength Tylenol and Tylenol PM, gause, scissors, wipes, thin maxipads, extra cotton underwear--you don't want to have to do laundry for at least the first week, also keep lots of water on hand. I bought Smartwater from Trader Joe's which has electrolytes in the water, bc laxatives can cause dehydration.
2. In terms of food I am still basically eating just fiber or soup. Going to the bathroom was so painful the first/second weeks that I basically (with my doctors permission) existed off of Slimfast Strawberry Shakes (bc I hate Ensure) and small bowls of vegetable or split pea soup. I am now able to eat a small spinach salad and some fruit.
3. I also did some "nice" things for myself before the surgery to make my recovery more comfortable. The first thing was I bought a bidet attachment (you can get one for about 100 dollars on line) and believe me when I say that, next to marrying my husband, it was the best choice I have ever made. I love that thing!! I also bought a tub pillow for my back, a body pillow for my bed (another key buy), a few ice packs, bought a single CD player so that I wouldn't have to get out of bed to listen to soothing music, purchased a good candle to light while soaking in the tub, and got a pedicure and bikini wax. I found these "comforts" to be key to my recovery. For me, heightening my comfort through my other senses (e.g. soothing lighting, comfortable temperature--ice packs, airconditioning, calming sounds, CD's, comforting things to touch--favorite blanket, pillow, neck support) really helped in negotiating my way through the pain.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Anne19 For This Useful Post: crhintexas (04-21-2011), paininmyhiney (04-14-2012)
I had the same thing done in mid-April this year. The pain was pretty awful, and I learned quickly to never let the pain get the upper hand.....take your pain meds! If you're still in pain, call your doctor!
I was in the bathtub soaking at least 5 times per day, sometimes in the middle of the night, too. Despite fiber, stool softeners, and lots of water and fresh fruits my first post-op bm at 6 days nearly made me black out completely. It was awful, but I survived it. Yes, it's not fun surgery and it's a tender recovery....I only took 2 weeks off of work and then went back parttime for 2 days ........pain really flared up again so I had to spend another week off of work. Fellow workers were being pretty nasty and behind-my-back about why I needed so much time off. I'd like to see THEM with 30 running stitches in THEIR rectums and see if they come to work!
now, 9 weeks postop, I feel better than I have in 20 years. My anemia is gone and I feel strong and fit at 50 years of age. I'm not tied to my bathroom and remedies and creams and the pain and bleeding. If you need the surgery, get it. Be completely prepared as Anne suggests to make things go as smoothly as possible, and keep in mind that very soon you will have a normal butt, normal stools, and a normal life. It's worth it!
Would anemia caused by hemorrhoid? I'm still under investigate of anemia. They'd done the gastroscopy and found nothing wrong. They haven't gone through my bottom part yet. I've some hemorrhoids but I never see it bleeds. Most of my large bowel affected by diverticular disease but it is not the cause of anemia. At the moment, it is Gynae turn now. I'm very scare. I don't want to repeat what yours pain are. How can I hide those hemorrhoids?
First things first, I forgot to mention in my last post. Before the surgery be sure to ask your surgeon for a topical analgesic (sp?) like Lidocaine, which can be applied a few minutes before BM's and reduce some of the pain.
Well it has been five weeks today and I am feeling really good--about 85%!! I see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, if you had asked me as early as 5 days ago, I was still in alot of discomfort.
Last week I saw my doctor (Mon. 7/3) and despite some significant swelling he told me that things looked good overall--which surprised me. He also snipped (but did not remove) my desolvable stitches (a couple of strings were hanging down). I think that helped alot bc the strings kept getting pulled and irritating the area. I also went back to icepacks and naproxin (e.g. Alleve) following my doctors visit to help with the pesky and irritating pain caused by the swelling. In the days that followed I still had significant pain and blood (even more than before) during my BM's. I was feeling discouraged and impatient to heal. Initiating movement was still annoyingly painful. Then on Friday (7/7) the tide started to turn, but I still kept up with the icepacks and naproxin. By Sun. 7/9 I started to have BM's with only low level discomfort and by today I no longer dread going to the bathroom--what a relief!
However, I am still on a high fiber diet, not eating any meat but some fish, drinking lots of water, taking two colace twice a day and Metamusel 2-3 times a day. I will probably stay on that regime until I am 100% and then cut back on the Colace, but continue with the rest.
I have say that the month following my hemorrhoidectomy required some pretty hard core recovery, but I agree with Dooley Boy--for me it was worth it. As a result of this whole experience I am making much better dietary choices which I plan to continue. I have also lost about 10 pounds, which is a little bit of a "silver lining" through this whole ordeal.
I decided to have the procedure mainly bc I had some short-lived but extreme problems with thrombosed hemorrhoids. My surgeon told me that if I became pregnant (which I am trying to do) that my hemorrhoids would likely flare up given the fact that at that time I had three internal and three external hemorrhoids. Now post-surgery, my surgeon says that I have about a 3% chance that I will develop hemorrhoids again and that if I follow a high fiber diet they will likely not be a problem if/when I get pregnant. So for me the hemorrhoidectomy was an investment in a less stressful pregnancy. I have read some posts on pregnancy websites and some women have horror stories about hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Some had them had hemorrhoids so bad that they had to have this procedure while pregnant or shortly after--I can not imagine that!!! Has anyone else had a hemorrhoidectomy and then become pregnant? If so, did you have problems with hemorrhoids?
Anne19 - First off I want to thank you for sharing your story. I have read the horror stories from the "Hemorrhoidectomy Blues" also. My husband had this surgery 5 days ago and just had his first BM today. It was the worse experience of our life. I had to witness him going through this for about 4 hours. From toilet to tub ... back and forth. He almost passed out entirely. I must say that I almost passed out also. He had me use a portable fan to keep his face cool and a wet rag on his neck. I wanted to call 911 but he said not to. I have a few questions that I hope you can help me with. As a caregiver during these dreaded BM's what can I do? He feels better when I am in the bathroom with him but I feel so helpless....(and faint). I called his surgeon who actually comes very highly recommended (but has poor bed side mannners) and he said to just lay him down and give him a Demerol for pain. I thought I needed to take him to the Emergency Room because of blood loss but the surgeon said that this is all normal. At what point does this become an Emergency Room situation? Should I call 911 if he passes out? The surgeon suggested I give him some Castor Oil to help aid the second BM. (I gave it to him 4 hours ago.... he is still sleeping though.) I am so afraid! Also, one last question. I have been home with him since his surgery. At what point in time do you think I can go back to work knowing he can handle this on his own? Any light you can shed on my questions above would be great.
I am so sorry you and your husband are having to go through this right now. But if it helps any, the first BM is the absolute worst part of the experience and you two made it through. My husband said that by far the worst part for him was not being able to do anything to help me through the pain for weeks on end. A week ago we were talking about the whole experience and my 6 foot 4 inch husband started to tear up as he said to me "Honey, you have really been through a lot the last two months." So this whole healing experience is pretty traumatic for both the patient and the caregiver.
It probably feels like you aren't doing enough, but just being there for him and helping with anything he needs is very important and extraordinarily supportive. I would just encourage you that if "in the throws of pain" he gets a bit short or snappy with you don't take it personally, its the pain. I remember getting a bit "punchy" with my husband while in pain, and you feel so rotten bc your in pain, and then feel so horrible bc you are being mean to the person that is trying to care for you and that you love most in the world. I had to apologize on several different occasions the first few weeks.
As for emergency, in this case, I dont' think pain is a sign (in and of itself) that someone needs to see a doctor. Your husband should take as much pain meds as he needs to get reasonably comfortable, but balance it out with PLENTY of water and fiber!!! For me the pain during and after the BM's was at it's height but usually subsided to more tolerable level in about 60 minutes. Ice packs really helped me after my BMs. Today has been 7 weeks since my surgery and I still have blood in my stool, especially if I have not eaten enough fiber. I had plenty of blood in my BM's until about the 5th week. My doctor told me not to come into the Emergency room unless the blood was dripping for an extended length of time, and there was no sign that it was decreasing. I think that was a good guiding principle. Following a BM I would have decreasing blood for about the first hour or so.
In terms of calling 911 if he faints I don't know. I never fainted (although I thought I was going to many times) so I did't have to make that call. My personal thought, and one that I reminded myself over and over while in intense pain, is that this condition and procedure is typically not life threatening (although it feels like you are going to die from the pain).So my thought is that unless one didn't regain consciousness or lost an excessive amount of blood an ambulance is probably not necessary. But that is just my personal thought. You are there, and you clearly care about your husband and I am sure you will make the best decisions for him.
My husband cared for me for about two days straight, and then stayed close to home for about a week. Luckily he works from home, so that wasn't a huge problem for us. As I mentioned before, my first 5 BM's or so were pretty tough, but things do get better (slowly). I was able to get through my days on my own going up and down stairs (with alot of pain, but manage by myself) after about a week. Although, I had my first BM the day after my surgery and pretty much once a day from then on. I would think that if I hadn't gone for 5 days following surgery, that the first BM would be pretty tough given how things can store up (and harden, especially due to the pain meds). So I know I am repeating myself, but I cannot emphasize it enough, make sure your husband drinks plenty of water and eats lots of fiber to keep things soft and self-propelling. It may mean more trips to the bathroom overall, but they will likely not be as painful.
I hope this helps, and truly my heart goes out to you and your husband. Keep me posted and let me know if there is any more I can do to help.
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I even read this to my husband and it made him smile. He had his 2nd BM... still VERY painful but nothing like yesterday. The issue we are fighting today is a fever. He reached up to 101 degrees and the doctor suggested he be put on an antibiotic, Cipro. (He had his first dose tonight.) He seems to be in better spirits but now I am concerned about his fever. I am giving him A LOT of water and fiber throughout the day. By chance, did you run any fevers?
Once again, thank you for all of your helpful information and support.
Sorry for the late response. No, I never did have a fever. On this I would definately defer to your physician. Hopefully by now your husband is doing well and the antibiotics are starting to do their job. If my calculations are correct you two made it through the first week, which is definately the hardest part. Take care and keep us posted.
I had this procedure on June 19th at 27 weeks gestation due to a severe case; I guess that's the only kind that gets you a hemmoroidectomy! I have to say that I went into it having read a ton of literature, message boards and studied and researched the different procedures available. Since I was pregnant I also knew that they wouldn't be able to load me up with the normal painkillers so I tried to research other plans to sooth my future pain.
There are a few things that I wish I would've known that nobody told me about the recovery....
1. Spasms - never mentioned by my doctor or in the literature that I read and received. Mentioned briefly on a few msg boards but it wasn't all over the place so I didn't think it was that common. I guess that this happens when the swelling in the rectum is so severe that the walls of the rectum tough each other, which like having stool in there, it activates you body to push. Natural response but absolutely terrible when you've got stitches in there and when there is nothing to push out. If you are a man and have had this consider that you have come closer to understanding the pain of childbirth more than most men ever will. Remedy, is to get the swelling down!!! Ibuprofen can relieve a lot of this problem and other anti-inflammatories.
2. Inability to urinate - also never mentioned but according to one site I found after the fact, is the 3rd most common side effect after painful stools and the appearance of some blood with and without bm. The night I got home from my procedure I had to be rushed to the ER for catheter insertion. The pressure from this problem made the pain from the other 'area' worse from the increased pressure.
3. One thing that sounds gross but was extremely helpful was having a bm on the sitz bath. Yes I know, but let me tell you. As difficult as a bm is, it is easier in warm water and is well worth the sitz bath cleaning every time.
I continued to have spasms for the first 2 weeks. I was hospitalized for the first 5 days post op (from the inability to urinate), which turned out to be a blessing for me in the end since I have 2 children at home.
Unfortunately the doctor found my case to be so sever while operating that he felt forced to actually leave 1 hemme there. Although I still have the one, it's nothing compared to the pain of the rosette that existed before the procedure. If I could have known then what I do now, I am convinced that my recovery would've been much better and quicker. There should be a guide for people to face the real possibilities of post operative issues, instead of just a doctor saying, "the first week will hurt a lot and the second week will just ache".
Of course I am glad that I have done it. It is over, and we all get through it eventually. My standard of life is so much higher than it has ever been. I used to lose 2-4 days here and there all the time due to inflammation and pain, even before pregnancy, and now it's not really and issue.
I had the scalpel/running stitches procedure because it had a higher success rate than some of the new methods. My older sister had the laser procedure and has had here hemorrhoids return. Hers aren't as bad as before, but she continues to have them.
I too am a survivor of this hideous procedure!! Whew- that was the absolute worse pain I've ever had in my life. It was even worse than natural child birth!
My docto was very informative as to what to expect post op and even told me that I would hate him for about 2 weeks. He was right, but really I didn't hate him, I hated myself for choosing to have the surgery.
I was unfortunate enough to have ruptured one of the sutures which sent me straight to his office immediately. Some doctors don't use sutures, however he does. He didn't prepare me for that, or for the tearing, searing, excruciating pain either.
I cried more during my recovery than I have cried in my entire life combined I think, and wasn't just crying. I was sobbing and begging for some kind of relief from the constant pain and spasms!
The lidocaine cream (not gel) became my best friend as things progressed and I started having regular bowel movements, and so did the spray bottle with warm water and cottonelle unscented clean wipes. Sitz baths were good to me too even though my husband had to help get me into and out of the tub. How embarassing!
I am glad I had the procedure done because I don't have constant bleeding and flare ups. I do still bleed every time I have a bowel movement because of constipation dominant IBS and the fact that I do have some internal hemorrhoids, but no where near the amount of bleeding I had before.
Anyone who is considering having the procedure, I recommend having it if it's really needed, but please, please make sure you are aware of what to expect post op and have someone around to help you too.
Well, we made it to day 10! My husband's fevers are gone (he was put on an antibiotic) and his BM's are getting a little easier. The surgeon said that it appears everything is healing just fine after we saw him on our 1 week post-op appointment. I really didn't think we were going to make it through this after the first horrific BM but we did! I know we are still not out of the woods yet but it is a major relief to know that things do get better!
My husband is down to only 1 painpill daily (right after his BM). We hope to even cut that back this week. Anne19, I really want to thank you again for your support. I am not the one who actually had the surgery but being so close to my husband and being his caregiver during this time really took it's toll on me.
For anyone out there who has gone through this or is currently going through this please feel free to ask any questions at all. I will be more than happy to share any feedback or offer suggestions if possible. My heart goes out to all who have either had this surgery or has had to care for someone who has had this done. It does get better day by day!
I had the stapled hemmorrhoidectomy on 8/6/07 in the afternoon and went home that evening...I am not as sore anymore but I think I ahve the UTI since I'm leaking on my bed! To top it off, I havne't been able to go to the bathroom and feeling quite backed up...I need help. I feel uncomfortable. I've tried the warm water thing, still on collace, eating and drinking my fluids...please help me. what should i expect? the procedure i did was called PPH. i am terrified after reading all the threads and scared to death of having a bm but really wanting to have one...i just keep passing gas every few minutes...i need help. i feel lost, alone, embarassed, uncomfortable and have to go back to work on monday (i'm an hourly employee). on that note, does anyone know if i can claim some sort of disability through the state? i have no disability benefits being an hourly employee...please help me...thanks.
PPH, I so know what you're going through. I was unable to have a BM after my hemorrhoidectomy a little under a month ago for the first 3 days. Milk of magnesia twice did not help me, and I tried (do NOT do this... it was so painful) an enema unsuccessfully. I think it's mostly psychological, as I was terrified of having a BM from everything I'd read. I tried the Fleet phospho-soda solution and that helped me finally go. But do NOT strain... I strained and busted stitches and still believe I ruined the healing process because of my first few BM's. You can also try mineral oil. Miralax started working for me the next few days, but worked too well and I went way too many times, which is also not good in the beginning.
Good luck and let me know how it goes.
PS-- The painkillers are VERY constipating, so try and get off of those ASAP.