C-Section adhesions and scar tissue are the body’s way of replacing damaged, cut tissues at the incision site.
Adhesions however, can cause several long term health complications. Because of these complications, adhesions are one of the biggest concerns women have when having a C-Section.
So what’s the difference between Adhesions and scar tissue and what are the complications?
Scar tissue forms as a result of injury to the skin. Most often we see it form on the surface of the skin as the wound heals. There are also many different types of scars that can form depending on the severity of the injury. For example, the external c-section scar is just that, a scar. It is often red and somewhat raised, but over time and with proper care, it will disappear. There are also cesarean scar treatments that are very effective in reducing the appearance of c-section scars.
C-section adhesions, on the other hand are more difficult to treat. Adhesions are the deep scar tissue that occurs in the facial layers of the body. These adhesions can adhere or tighten and pull on the abdominal cavity affecting your muscles, organs, bones, nerves or arteries. When this happens it can cause things like bowel blockage, digestion problems, back or abdomen pain. It can also become problematic for future births or C-Sections.
Of all the C-Section complications, adhesions and scar tissue can be the most troublesome for women and their future health.
Adhesions begin forming almost immediately after surgery and that’s true for any surgery. For most women adhesions are painless, never causing any complications whatsoever, however for others they can be very painful because they can pull, obstruct and intertwine with other organs like the ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes, bladder or even cause bowel obstruction. C-Section Adhesions have also been known to interfere with fertility preventing conception.
For women with extensive c-section adhesions and scar tissue complications, especially women experiencing excessive pain or infertility issues, additional surgery to remove the adhesions can help. The good news is that adhesion removal can be done laparoscopically which is much less invasive type of surgery and has a good success rate for relieving pain and improving fertility.
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 detection process can take a long time.
You can however take a pro-active approach by trying to minimize the formation of adhesions. Medicine 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. In fact, self massage therapy has recently been shown to provide some benefit there. More research on the complete benefits of massage therapy is still under investigation, but it’s a good start and many women have found it helpful.
Other prevention methods include strategies and materials your doctor can use. Here’s more information on that and ideas you may want to discuss with your doctor.