WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A sphincterotomy is surgery to relax your anal sphincter. The anal sphincter is the ring of muscles that form your anus. Your anal sphincter controls the passage of bowel movements.
- Medicines may help decrease pain, relax your anal muscles, and soften your bowel movements.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Do not try to push the bowel movement out if it is too hard. The following will help soften your bowel movement and prevent constipation:
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask your PHP or surgeon how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Exercise. Walking is the best, low-impact way to help your bowels work properly.
- Eat foods high in fiber. This includes high-fiber cereals, beans, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. Prune juice may also help soften your bowel movements.
Take a sitz bath:
A sitz bath is a pan filled with warm water that fits on the toilet bowl. The warm water may help decrease pain and swelling. You may need to take a sitz bath more than once a day. Ask your PHP or surgeon how to use a sitz bath.
Follow up with your PHP or surgeon as directed:
You may need to return to have your anal sphincter checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your PHP or surgeon if:
- You have a fever.
- You continue to have pain, even after you take medicine.
- You have anal spasms that do not stop.
- You see blood in your bowel movement.
- You pass gas more often than before your surgery.
- You have trouble controlling your bowel movements.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You have severe pain.
- You are unable to have a bowel movement.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.