The area known as ‘perineum’ involves all existing tissue between the pubic bone and the coccyx. This area can be sensitive to wound healing simply because of its location. With the anus so close by, accidental contamination is much easier to occur, especially in women. Infections after surgical procedures are quite common. Without a doubt though, one major cause of wounds in the perineal area is giving birth. There, the tissue around the perineum is over extended when the woman is crowning and the skin tends to tear. The extension of the damage can be variable, but stitches are commonplace.
Sometimes, the surgeon will make a small cut at the inferior opening of the vagina towards the perineum to allow more room for a newborn baby to go through. This incision is known as an episiotomy.
The majority of these wounds are able to heal without problems, but not always. Some of these complications are:
–Haematoma: Below the wound area, blood can accumulate, delaying healing and originating. Excessive pain is present around the wound area and the patient cannot sit down or walk properly.
–Infection: Infection in the perineal area may occur between the middle and the end of the first week after giving birth. Symptoms may be fever, foul smells and pus coming from the area and pain. Some patients may even be unable to walk. The occurrence of any of these symptoms merits consulting a doctor so that antibiotics may be prescribed. Sometimes wounds reopen, but this is not usually the case.
What Should You Do?
As far as hygiene is concerned, showering daily should help keep the wound under control. Soap should not be used directly on the area. Some caregivers recommend allowing the wound “to breath” for short periods of time especially after changing sanitary pads. Changes should be done as often as necessary and at least every two to three hours to prevent infections.
After using the toilet, the wound should be washed with fresh water. When sitting on the toilet your knees should be at a higher level than your hips by placing your feet on a stool. It is also important to try to avoid constipation so as not to exert too much pressure on the wound.
Eating a balanced diet, with fibers, fruits, vegetables and drinking lots of water has been shown to speed up healing.
Try to sit in a way that won’t disturb the wound so much and do not remain seated in the same position for long periods. You can also contribute to better circulation and prevent clotting by performing pelvic exercises.