A hemorrhoidectomy can keep you from your normal routine for several weeks, and getting back to the gym may not go as smoothly as you’d hoped. Still, this procedure offers the best results paired with the lowest chance at a recurrence of hemorrhoids.
By starting slowly and listening to your body, you can return to your previous exercise regimen as soon as possible. A Proctologist, also known as a Colon and Rectal Surgeon, will be able to guide you through the entire process.
What Will Limit My Activity After Surgery?
Many people experience considerable pain for a week to ten days after a surgical hemorrhoidectomy. In the first few weeks following the procedure, it is this pain that limits a patient’s activity level and prevents them from returning to work or resuming a regular exercise routine.
Up to two weeks of activity-limiting pain is normal, but there should be improvement almost every day. Some days may be worse than others, but the general trend will be that the pain will slowly decrease in the two to four weeks following the operation.
Many doctors will prescribe pain medication for patients to use in the first few days to two weeks after surgery. It is important to take this medication as directed, because it can quickly lead to constipation. Hard stool can create immense pain during the postoperative period, lead to straining and prolong healing time.
Once the initial pain has faded, the area may continue to be sore and uncomfortable for several more weeks. Over-the-counter pain relief can be used during this time. It is also common to have light bleeding, especially during bowel movements.
After two weeks, most people have returned to many of their normal activities. This may not be true for those who are accustomed to rigorous workouts or lead highly active lives. It may take up to eight weeks to fully heal and have the stamina you had before surgery.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
A hemorrhoidectomy is an invasive surgery that removes external or internal hemorrhoids. This is the most effective way to reduce the discomfort associated with chronic or severe inflammation of these veins, but it also requires a much longer recovery time than most other treatment methods.
How long it takes to recover from a surgical hemorrhoidectomy can vary widely from patient to patient. Your doctor will explain more about your individual circumstance to you, and will also offer more information on how to cope during the recovery process. Somethings all patients can expect include:
- Not being able to drive for a few days. This may be limited to only the day of the surgery, although it typically lasts several days to a week.
- Missing work. Most people are able to return to work within two weeks of surgery, and some return after only a week off. This depends both on how you are feeling and the duties required at your job.
- Using an ice pack to reduce swelling. Swelling can create a number of problems, including blocking urine flow. For this reason, it is important to keep swelling to a minimum.
- Reducing pain and discomfort with sitz baths. Soaking in a shallow tub of warm water several times a day is one of the best ways to relieve the pain associated with a hemorrhoidectomy.
- Taking showers as usual, as well as after a bowel movement. This is generally much more comfortable than cleaning yourself with toilet paper. Be sure to pat the area dry afterward.
- It is important to avoid constipation at this time so, the physician will prescribe stool softeners and a laxative.
- Following a diet that includes plenty of high-fiber foods as well as liquids. This will prevent constipation, which can irritate the area. Your doctor may also prescribe stool softeners or laxatives to address this issue.
When Can I Return To My Normal Exercise Routine?
Most people don’t feel up to their usual workout routine for ten days to two weeks after a hemorrhoidectomy. In fact, most patients tend to take it easy during this period. Once you do begin to feel like being active again, it is important to start out slowly. Walking at a moderate pace is one way to see how your body reacts to exercise.
It is important to rest when you feel tired or are in extreme pain. Because exercise increases blood flow to the pelvis, however, you can expect to feel some throbbing or increase in pain. This increase in blood flow may also lead to a slight increase in bleeding from the area.
Complete recovery after a hemorrhoidectomy can take up to two months, and rarely takes less than six weeks. While most people can resume their regular schedule and return to work within two weeks, those who are required to do heavy lifting may need to reduce their work activities for three to four weeks. The same is true for vigorous exercise routines. It is important to allow your body time to heal. Moving too quickly or lifting heavy weights before you are ready can extend healing time.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates perform hemorrhoidectomies, as well as offer less invasive treatments. They are specialists in all diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. By calling (310) 273-2310, you can schedule a confidential appointment and discuss any of your questions with your physician.