There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about how to care for wounds. Much of it is unfortunately not based on clear evidence.
Your first source of information should of course be the health professional who performed your surgery or delivered your baby. However, it can be difficult to know where to turn if the information you have received is insufficient, contradictory, or if you received no information at all.
The following page from Mater Hospital in Queensland provides up-to-date information on how to care for a third or fourth degree tear following childbirth: Recovering from 3rd or 4th degree perineal tears.
Though this page naturally includes specific information on third a fourth degree tears, it also has good general guidelines on caring for genital wounds. It also warns you against some of the incorrect advice circulating on forums (such as drying yourself with a hairdryer, which can put you at risk of burns if you have reduced sensation in the area). Remember, online forums are best used as a source of support, or as the start of your research into your treatment.
The most important thing to remember is that your wound requires regular cleaning and monitoring. Though you may not want to look at or touch the area, particularly if you have just had a traumatic birth, it is vital that it receives proper attention. If you can not bring yourself to care for your wound, ask a trusted family member or friend to help you. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, then you need to urgently seek help from your doctor or hospital. You are at risk of infection or other complications if you do not keep your wound clean. If you cannot get help anywhere else, go to your local hospital emergency department, and explain that you need mental health support in dealing with your wound.
As always, I encourage you to ask for the help you need, and to continue asking until someone helps you.
At the Prolapse Information Project, I always recommend you seek professional medical advice, even if it means that you need to seek a second opinion in order to feel confident about what you have been told. The information in this article is provided only to help you become informed about your care.