Recovery Questions: Sitting and Strength After Rectum Removal?


Hi all,

New here - I'm about a month out from my rectum removal. A couple questions for those who have been through it before...

1) Is it easier to sit once the stitches are removed or is it pretty much the same? I'm having a rough time wanting to do any sitting at all and mostly am stuck in bed.

2) My procedure wasn't laparoscopic so I have a pretty large vertical incision... currently I'm not supposed to lift more than 5 lbs but even when I do something like open a water bottle that torques my abs and it just feels like they are paper thin and are going to give out.

Is it reasonable to expect my strength to return to baseline or will it stay limited? I'm currently doing walking around the neighborhood and I feel like I'm moving slow but getting a little stronger every day.

Any thoughts, tips?




It will get better when the stitches are out. Do not use a donut cushion, just a small pillow or blanket folded up. I do not think you will reach 100. I am a few years out and I do not think I am at 100.

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Earth Angel

Hi JJNoColon,

First of all - welcome! There are so many great people here - it's the right place to ask questions and receive help and support. I have had total APR surgery with permanent colostomy for rectal cancer. It took a few months before I could sit for any period of time. It's important to make sure you shift your weight and change positions often while healing as it is so uncomfortable to stay in one place for too long. I had my surgery in January of 2018 and still get sore after sitting too long. I use a gel cushion (Amazon) to sit on in the car while driving and used it while I was healing to sit on chairs at home. It does get better but it will take some time. Think of what the surgeon just did to your body. Walking is good exercise for you and will promote healing as well. As far as movement and lifting - be careful and don't lift anything over 5 lbs if you can help it. I ended up with a peristomal hernia - I think it happened from sneezing!! I felt a funny sensation at the time I sneezed and soon after developed a hernia. After having abdominal muscles cut, you're much more susceptible to hernias. I also have extra weight on me which will contribute to that as well. I would ask the doctor about when you can start exercising your stomach muscles and the best way to do that so you can build muscle and avoid the hernia. 50% of patients having ostomy surgeries end up with hernias.
Take the time to ease back into things. I wish you much luck and good healing on your recovery.


ron in mich

Hi JJ, the info others said sounds good. Patience is the key here. I was really sick with UC/Crohn's, so my healing took a while. But what you are doing is good. Some easy exercise like walking and not lifting over 5 lb. Nutrition is also worth looking into, especially protein.



Had my proctectomy back in 2010 after the reversal failed with the rectal end with the small bowel. Had a few scrapings under anesthesia and removed excess hair as well, some bits healed up but came back. I have diabetes and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which affects skin tissue and organs, which ten years later was still having problems with healing. Had a Peru anal repair on the wound and they stitched it up. Currently bleeding but scar tissue is good and the best thing I can advise is to sit on pillows around the house, cars, and take with you whenever you go out. Also, district nurses and doctors have been great at my local surgery, even during the pandemic.

At the moment, still have spare gauze and Adversel which helps with the wound, not 100% but will get there and so will you,


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Hi JJ,

Welcome! I had my surgery in April 2018. Wow, three years this month. Those first weeks were really touchy. Once the stitches were removed, the real healing began. I only felt a mild discomfort when sitting but getting there was somewhat different! It was very painful to get in the sitting position and getting up. I just had to take it very slow and little by little, it improved. I still do not plop down but that may be just a learned thing from the beginning and has become a habit. Not a bad habit by any means. On rare occasions I may sit fast or on something that creates a little pain but nothing bad. I believe it was a full year before I felt all that to be close to normal. Well, besides feeling that your underwear is up your butt crack! Haha Still feel that all the time.
If you feel the new skin is tight or pulling at your rectal closing, I was told to massage it. Helps.
The weight limit is a pretty universal thing. Who can stick to that? Not me. Life goes on and requires us to participate. I just shoveled 4 yards of mulch and fill dirt in the past month. Got to do what you got to do! Right? But, give it time to heal before you try any Hercules moments! No hernias for me so far!
Good luck!

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