If you had an incision (episiotomy) or
a tear in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
during delivery, your doctor or nurse-midwife will repair it with stitches,
local anesthetic. An ice pack will be placed against
your perineum to ease pain and swelling.
Recovery from an episiotomy or tear can be uncomfortable or quite
painful, depending on how deep and long the incision or tear is. Pain typically
affects sitting, walking, urinating, and bowel movements for at least a week.
Your first bowel movement may be quite painful. An episiotomy or tear is
usually firmly healed within 3 weeks but can take longer.
To reduce pain and promote healing:
Keep an ice pack on your perineal area.
Try an anesthetic spray.
sitz baths in a tub of warm, shallow
Take pain medicine. Some pain medicines can be constipating,
so ask your health professional for a formulation that includes a stool
Take stool softeners and drink lots of fluids to help
soften stools and ease pain.
Use warm water from a squeeze bottle
to keep the perineal area clean. Pat it dry with gauze or a sanitary wipe. Only
wipe your perineal area from front to back.
When to call a doctor
Call your health professional immediately if
you develop severe pain, fever, or uneven swelling, or if the wound begins to
weep fluid, separate, or smell bad.
Call your health professional today if you
develop moderate pain, a low-grade fever below
100°F (37.8°C), increased
redness or swelling, or increased pain when urinating or having a bowel
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.