My Patient Perspective: What to Expect From Hemorrhoid Removal Surgery
A Need for Hemorrhoid Removal Surgery
In May of 2009 at the age of almost 65, I elected to have a polyp and internal and external hemorrhoids removed by surgery. Frankly, I did not have a choice because my hemorrhoids were badly swollen, bleeding, and hurting very much.
I first noticed the hemorrhoids in my 20s. They would occasionally flare up over the years, but I was always able to keep them under control using Preparation-H and other hydrocortisone ointments.
Noticeable bleeding started in my mid-50s, and at that time, when I had a sigmoidoscopy, the doctor confirmed the existence of a polyp and internal and external hemorrhoids. Like a fool, I did not do anything until they got so bad that I required surgery.
In this article, I first define the nature of hemorrhoids and the probable causes of my hemorrhoids. Next, I describe the condition of my hemorrhoids in the years leading up to my surgery. After a brief account of my surgery and stay in a hospital, I devote most of this article to my experience of fully recovering from hemorrhoid surgery.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
What are Hemorrhoids and Rectal Polyps?
Hemorrhoids or piles as they have also traditionally been called are swollen veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. A rectal polyp is a fleshy growth occurring on the lining of the rectum.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
I know that hemorrhoids run in the family because mom complained about hers when I was young and my dad had hemorrhoid removal surgery when he was almost 39.
Besides having a history of hemorrhoids running in the family, I have been overweight most of my life. Over the years, my diet wasn't the best leading to occasional constipation. Another factor was probably not keeping my anal area sufficiently clean when I was younger.
Other causes of hemorrhoids are excessive sitting and pregnancy. During pregnancy when the uterus gets bigger, it presses on veins in the colon causing them to bulge.
Personal Dealings with Hemorrhoids Over the Years
During college in my early 20s, I first suspected having hemorrhoids. I treated them with a hydrocortisone ointment in Preparation-H and they quickly shrank.
Up until my early 40s, hemorrhoids did not bother me until I started noticing blood with my stool. Suspecting I had a colon problem, the doctor examined my stool for occult blood. The results were negative indicating that the blood was coming from my hemorrhoids after bowel movements.
At the age of 55, my hemorrhoids started to bleed more. Still not convinced that the blood was coming from hemorrhoids, I had a sigmoidoscopy to see if I had colorectal cancer. The test results showed that I only had a rectal polyp and internal and external hemorrhoids. Since they shrank again with hydrocortisone ointment treatment, I neglected my piles again.
Then in 2004, my hemorrhoid flare-ups occurred more often. By May of 2009, my hemorrhoids became very swollen and painful, especially after bowel movements. They were also bleeding a lot. At this point in time, I finally realized the need for surgery.
My Hemorrhoid Surgery
I had my hemorrhoids and polyp removed at Thainakarin Hospital in Bangkok during the third week of May of 2009. The surgery was performed by Doctor Thawatchai who was recommended by one of my teaching colleagues at that time. Thawatchai had recently performed hemorrhoid surgery on my fellow teacher.
Two or three days prior to surgery, I had an appointment with Doctor Thawatchai who examined my large swollen hemorrhoids and advised immediate surgery.
Before surgery could be scheduled, however, I had to have an EKG which was inconclusive. The result was that I had to get on a treadmill and have my heart checked.
After passing the treadmill test, my surgery was scheduled for a Sunday afternoon. Following an enema to cleanse my rectum and bowels, I was wheeled into the operating room. I was knocked out with anesthesia and about one and a half to two hours later I woke up. Surprisingly, I did not have much pain, but I had to stay in the hospital for two nights. The primary reason was to make sure I did not get an infection in the wound area.
Before leaving the hospital, my doctor showed me some pictures of the polyp and hemorrhoids he had removed. I also have pictures of my hemorrhoids taken by my wife before surgery. If anyone is interested in viewing them, please let me know.
Prior to departing the hospital, Doctor Thawatchai also gave me some instructions. It was most important for me to watch my diet to avoid constipation. The doctor advised eating soft foods without many carbohydrates for two or three weeks. I could have no meat, potatoes, bread or steamed rice. It seemed like I could only eat boiled rice with fish, soft vegetables, and fruit. I was also told to drink an orange flavored Metamucil which I mixed with water. This would supply me with needed fiber. I also had to soak my anal area in a Sitz bath two or three times a day. Finally, I was given a medical note stating that I needed two weeks off of work for recovery.
Hemorrhoid Experience - Recovery Time
Home Recovery Following Hemorrhoid Surgery
When I left Thainakarin Hospital following surgery, I foolishly thought that my recovery time would only take two weeks. After all, my doctor gave me a medical excuse for missing work for two weeks. Then, too, Internet medical articles indicated that recovery from hemorrhoid surgery generally took two weeks. Two weeks turned into six months before I was completely back to normal!
The first two weeks home was the most painful and uncomfortable recovery period.
During my first night home two or three days following surgery, I had a horrible time trying to sleep. Although I was still taking antibiotics and pain medicine, my anal area burned when I laid on the bed. In addition, I was having difficulty with the basic body functions of passing gas, bowel movements, and urination. At times, it was hard to distinguish among the three. The problem with urination was probably related to my enlarged prostate gland. Bowel movements were very painful and I remember soaking my anal area in Sitz baths after defecation and whenever I had a lot of burning pain.
The problems with urination and passing gas continued for a few more days. Then about a week after surgery, I started to develop constipation. After I did not have a bowel movement for three or four days, I had to go back to the hospital and get an enema. At that time, my doctor stressed that I could only eat boiled rice and fish. Any kind of solid meat, bread, potatoes or steamed rice was out of the question for at least a month. The doctor also recommended again taking orange flavored Metamucil as a fiber supplement and laxative. During the first month after surgery, I think I lost 11 or 12 pounds.
During the second month following surgery, I still had pain during bowel movements and I noticed bleeding every day. After the doctor examined me, Doctor Thawatchai noted that healing was still going on, but that the bleeding would gradually decrease.
Finally, in the third month after surgery, I started to see real improvement. My bleeding after bowel movements had stopped and I was experiencing less and less daily pain.
In November of 2009 six months after my hemorrhoid surgery, I could honestly say that I was completely healed and back to normal.
I regret not having my hemorrhoid removal operation when I was younger. Perhaps the hemorrhoids would not have been so bad and the recovery time shorter.
I also regret not watching my diet to avoid constipation. Better personal hygiene when younger would also have helped a lot since using dry toilet paper is the worst thing to do when you have hemorrhoids.
If hemorrhoids are not too serious, they can be treated by banding or injection of medicine into the piles.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Are sitz baths mainly for comfort detrimental to the hemorrhoid healing process?
No, sitz baths aid the healing process significantly.Helpful 2
Can someone do hard lifting or drive after hemorrhoid removal surgery?
It would be a good idea to avoid any hard lifting or driving for two weeks after the surgery.Helpful 3
Can there be complications from a hemorrhoid removal surgery?
Yes, there can be complications in a few cases. As a non-medical person, I can think of complications from anesthesia during an operation. I had to stay in the hospital for one or two nights after my operation to make sure I did not have excessive bleeding or infection from the operation. After I returned home, I remember being constipated and having a problem passing gas for a few days. Other than that, I didn't really have any other complications.
© 2017 Paul Richard Kuehn