How to Treat Natural Tears

Treatment

What do you do if you have a perineal injury from a natural tear? Don’t panic… It’s not a fun experience, but there are plenty of ways to manage the pain and treat perineal tears.


Step 1: Stitches

Your medical professional has likely stitched the perineum with a material absorbable by the body, so you won’t have to get the stitches removed. It is important you don’t touch the stitches so that they can heal quickly and successfully. The wound will feel tender. Using an ice pack on the area might also help with swelling the first day after birth. (1)


Step 2: Maxi pads

You’ll wear maxi pads until the wound is fully healed to absorb blood and fluids that leak from the stitches. Change these pads every 2-6 hours to keep the wound clean! (1,2)


Step 3: Using the bathroom

Now comes the tricky part! Do not wipe with toilet paper as usual after using the bathroom to avoid pulling on the stitches. Use a squirt bottle with water to rinse the area, then gently pat it dry with a clean towel. Having trouble getting yourself dry without wiping? Try a hair dryer! Use a hair dryer on low 8 inches from the wound to gently dry yourself after rinsing the urine away with a squirt bottle. (1,2)


After defecating for the first time, gently wipe front-to-back with a baby wipe. It is important to keep the anus clean to prevent germs from entering the wound. If your tear is severe and has reached your anus, wipe carefully but thoroughly with the disinfectant wipe, and avoid moving the stitches. In time, it will heal! (1,2)


Step 4: Pain management

Over-the-counter medications (such as ibuprofen) can help relieve pain. Other home remedies to reduce pain include sitz baths (sitting in a small warm bath 3-4 times a day), ice packs, and chilled witch hazel pads. (1)


Sitting on a donut-shaped cushion is more comfortable and better for the healing process. Similarly, you might find sleeping on your side to be more comfortable. Get plenty of rest! (1)


Step 5: Defecating regularly

Becoming constipated or straining on the toilet might slow the healing process and cause more pain. The wound is very close to the anal muscles which could cause pain during defecation. To reduce pain, eat lots of fruit and other high-fiber foods to prevent constipation. Try to defecate regularly and with ease to avoid pain. Drink lots of water, and if you are permitted, get some light exercise to ward off constipation. (2,1)


Complications

Minor tears take around 10 days to heal. More severe tears take longer and put you more at risk of complications like infection. Be sure to keep an eye out for: (1)

  • Swelling

  • Increased pain from the wound

  • Signs of inflammation such as redness of the skin

  • Unusual smell from the wound

  • Slight fever

Conclusion

Maybe you’ve learned something new about how to treat natural tears! Be cautious during recovery and be persistent with your treatment. Keep eating fruits to limit pain while defecating during recovery. Monitor your pain so that you can rest well, and to make sure you are keeping an eye out for healing complications to avoid infection. Recovery after perineal injury isn’t fun, but hopefully these tips will help ease the healing process!


References

  1. (2018, February 9). Vaginal and Perineal Tears During and After Childbirth. What to expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/perineal-tears/

  2. Weiss, Robin Elise (2019, January 26). Caring for Your Episiotomy Stitches: Tips for Keeping the Would Clean and Free of Infection. Verywellfamily. https://www.verywellfamily.com/when-will-my-episiotomy-stitches-dissolve-2758693

Photo: Natural Tears

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