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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

A sphincterotomy is surgery to help 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.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You are unable to have a bowel movement.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You continue to have pain, even after you take medicine.
  • You have anal spasms that do not stop.
  • 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.


  • Medicines may help decrease pain, relax your anal muscles, and soften your bowel movements.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider 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.

Prevent constipation:

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 healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Prune juice may also help soften your bowel movements.
  • 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.
  • Exercise. Walking is the best, low-impact way to help your bowels work properly.

Take a sitz bath:

Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling. 

Follow up with your doctor 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.

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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.

Further information

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