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Injury to the Rectum and Vagina: Care Instructions


Injury to the rectum and vagina can cause many problems. These problems may include rectal or vaginal bleeding, infection, constipation, pain, or leaking of stool. The injury can be caused by a mishap, childbirth, or physical or sexual abuse.

Medicines can treat pain. They can also prevent infection. Surgery may be needed to treat severe injuries.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If your doctor suggests, sit in 8 to 10 centimetres (3 to 4 inches) of water (sitz bath) 3 times a day and after bowel movements. The warm water helps with pain and itching.
  • Try cleansing yourself with a gentle squeeze of warm water from a bottle instead of wiping with toilet paper.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You feel that you are in danger.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse rectal or vaginal bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You need support for domestic violence or sexual abuse.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.