Abdominal adhesions are one of the side effects of having a C-Section.
Unfortunately C-section adhesions can cause several long term health complications which is one of the biggest concerns women have when having a C-Section.
So what exactly are adhesions and scar tissue, what are some of the complications they can cause and is there anything you can do to prevent them?
Let’s take a look….
What Are C-Section Adhesions?
Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form as a result of having any abdominal surgery. They occur as the body’s way of replacing damaged, cut tissues at the incision site and they begin forming almost immediately after surgery.
For most women adhesions don’t grow large enough to cause complications, however for many they can cause pain by adhering (hence the name adhesion) to other organs like the ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes, intestines or bladder. Once this happens the adhesions can pull or block organs. If they adhere to the intestines they can even cause bowel obstruction.
C-Section Adhesions have also been known to interfere with fertility, preventing conception.
For women who experience extensive pain or have fertility issues from c-section adhesions and scar tissue complications, additional surgery to remove the adhesions can help. Unfortunately more surgery can create more adhesions.
The good news is that adhesion removal can be done laparoscopically which is a much less invasive type of surgery and has a good success rate for relieving pain and improving fertility.
Potential Problems Caused by C-Section Adhesions & Scar Tissue
- Bowl Obstruction. Abdominal Adhesions are the most common cause of bowel obstruction.
- Chronic abdominal pain. Adhesions can adhere to abdominal organs or tissues causing a pulling, painful sensation.
- Increased risk of bladder injury during subsequent C-Sections.
- Infertility. C-Section adhesions can interfere with future fertility, about a 20% risk.
Preventing or Limiting C-Section Adhesions
One of the most difficult things about abdominal adhesions is that they are hard to detect.
Adhesions can’t be seen through an X-Ray or ultrasound. Medical research is getting better detection methods, but most detection still comes through either a process of elimination or by your doctor going in and exploring.
This can be frustrating for women because the longer it takes to determine if adhesions are the cause of your pain , the longer you have to live with the pain.
If you know you will be having a C-Section take a pro-active approach for minimizing the formation of adhesions. Medical science has a long way to go in the complete prevention of C-Section adhesions but there are ways to help minimize their formation and painful impact.
What Can be Done to Minimize C-Section Adhesions?
- Consider self massage therapy and professional massage therapy which can help minimize the pain of adhesions. Massage works by breaking up the bonds of the adhesions, helping the body return to normal, pain-free function.
- Talk to your doctor about the use of prevention methods such as the use of Seprafilm adhesion barrier that can reduce post-surgical adhesions in patients undergoing abdominal or pelvic surgery.
Here’s more information on preventing C-Section adhesions from becoming a problem
If you suspect C-Section adhesions or scar tissue is causing your pain or discomfort, check with your doctor. It’s not always easy to detect adhesions but based on your pain, symptoms and your medical history your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist or order diagnostic treatment that may help with pain relief.
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