C-Section adhesions and scar tissue are filmy, sticky, tentacle-like bands of tissue that form within your abdomen after abdominal surgery.
Adhesions occur as the body’s way of replacing damaged, cut tissues at the incision site.
C-Section adhesions are one of the most worrisome side effects for women because they’re painful and they can cause long term health complications. They’ve also been known to prevent future conception.
Concerns women have about C-Section adhesions.
- How Do C-Section Adhesions Become a problem?
- What complications do C-Section adhesions cause?
- What to do For C-Section Adhesion Pain and Discomfort?
- What can you do to prevent adhesions?
Here are a few answers…
How Do C-Section Adhesions Become a problem?
Adhesions become a problem when they attach themselves to organs and other tissues in your body.
For most women adhesions don’t grow large enough to cause complications, however for some women they can cause serious 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 for example they can cause bowel obstruction.
Depending on how and where the adhesions attach themselves they can cause pain in various locations making them hard to diagnose as adhesions don’t show up on X-Rays, ultrasounds or other detection devices.
This is a huge frustration for women.
Potential Adhesion Complications include:
- 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 from subsequent C-Sections.
- Infertility. C-Section adhesions can interfere with future fertility. There’s about a 20% risk.
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.
The problem with more surgery is that it creates more adhesions. That’s why women are advised to limit the number of C-Sections they have as too many C-Sections can cause extensive adhesions.
The good news is that adhesion removal can be done laparoscopically which is a much less invasive surgery and has a good success rate for relieving pain and improving fertility.
What To Do For C-Section Adhesion Pain and Discomfort
Because adhesions are hard to detect with the usual CT Scan, MRI, or X-ray, medical personnel cannot get a good diagnosis and usually have to begin a series of healing by process of elimination, which can take a very long time.
If you are suffering with adhesion pain or infertility here are a few things you can do help.
- Post surgery massage therapy. Massage has been advocated and claimed to help loosen the grip of adhesions. For example, post C-Section self-massage therapy is a good preventive measure in help minimizing the effect of adhesions.
- Yoga Exercises. Yoga is ideal for just about anything connected to healing and achieving that overall feeling of peace, but it can also help relieve C-Section adhesions.
Yoga poses and stretches, like the forward bend, the cat/cow stretch, the cobra pose and side twists will strengthen and tone muscles and can keep your incision flexible while also keeping it from getting tight and uncomfortable.
- Stretching for C-Section Adhesion Pain Relief. Daily stretching is another way to soften adhesion fibers. Pelvic tilts are an excellent, gentle but effective exercises that is excellent for stretching the areas of the adhesions that need the most attention.
Tip: Never stretch too rigorously. Take care to stretch gently and move slowly. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
How to Prevent or Minimize C-Section Adhesions
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 here are a few ways to help prevent C-Section Adhesions from becoming a problem.
- Inquire about using adhesion blockers with your doctor. Absorbable Adhesion barriers like GYNECARE INTERCEED® can minimize the risk of abdominal adhesions and adhesion related complications. Adhesion barriers like these can be inserted at the time of surgery to help guard against the formation of adhesions. Ask your doctor about using an adhesion barrier.
- Closing up the peritoneum. This is a surgical technique that helps minimize tissue injury and contamination of the wound, but it’s also been found to reduce adhesions. Another procedure you should inquire about with your doctor.
On closing the peritoneum, a study in 2005 by Stanford University has found that women who have had the peritoneum closed as part of their first c-section delivery are as much as five times less likely to develop adhesions than those who had theirs left open as is the common practice today.
This is possibly why I have not had any issues myself with adhesions as my doctor closed the peritoneum. I actually think this is one of the most significant things your doctor can do.
- Use of Joel-Cohen incision incision. A report by Mathai M, Hofmeyr GJ of The Cochrane Collaborative suggests that using a Joel-Cohen incision, a specific type of incision used for C-Sections can result in “… less fever, pain and analgesic requirements; less blood loss; shorter duration of surgery and hospital stay”. Again, ask your doctor about this.
- Self Massage Therapy or professional massage therapy helps minimize the pain of adhesions. Massage works by breaking up the bands of the adhesions, helping the body return to normal, pain-free function.
Adhesion related disorders or ARD is misunderstood and often misdiagnosed and its victims often have to fight to get to the cure.
That was the case for Karen Stewart, a mother who fought for 14 years trying to get to the bottom of her daughter’s chronic abdominal pain which were misdiagnosed adhesions.
Karen’s daughter is finally well today thanks to her perseverance. Karen now devotes much of her time to Adhesion awareness through her popular book “Doctors: Bound by Secrecy? Victims: Bound by Pain!”
Blessings and I hope that helps
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