What Are The Symptoms of C- Section Adhesion? How To Deal With This Condition
Childbirth is one of the greatest events in a woman’s life. But what will be your reaction when the child delivery is of a different experience? After a lot of upheavals of pregnancy, you are finally told that c-section or cesarean is the only option to safely deliver your child. Though most of the cesarean deliveries are successfully performed, some cases might result in complications.
Today a lot of women are uninformed and unaware of the post-surgical complications that can befall month or years after delivery. If you are one of those who are suffering from abdominal/pelvic pain after childbirth and not getting the right answer, please spare some minutes to read this post.
When a woman’s body recovers after the surgical procedure of c-section, it can form a set of scar tissue known as adhesions. If left untreated, these adhesions or scars can cause a lot of problems including bowel (intestine) obstructions, female infertility, and chronic pelvic pain.
Adhesions look like spider webs covering the organs or like a nylon rope binding the internal structures. These can wrap around the healing site and obstruct the blood flow or reduces the normal functioning of the internal organs. This can result in severe pain.
Adhesions mostly go undiscussed since they are part of body’s natural healing process. And unfortunately, there is also no way to prevent the formation of adhesions as the surgeries designed to eliminate them cause them to form more.
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Is c-section adhesion common?
Adhesion formation after cesarean delivery can occur in about 25 percent of all first instances. After that, the chances increase with subsequent c-section deliveries.
Symptoms of c-section adhesions
Women who have had cesarean delivery can feel something is wrong inside them but they are often perplexed as to what is the exact reason. And unfortunately, many physicians also will tell them that the pain after surgery is common and there is nothing to worry about. But following signs can indicate adhesion. If you are suffering from any of these, talk with your doctor without delay.
- Undiagnosed abdominal pain (often years after surgery)
- Painful intercourse
- Painful passage of stool
- Trouble standing straight
- Swollen abdomen
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Infertility problems
- Rise in menstrual pain (after c-section)
- Tenderness/pain at the location of scar
How can I tell I have adhesion post c-section?
Lay yourself flat on the back and examine. If the scar after c-section looks like indented without any changes to the pigment (skin colour), it’s possible you have adhesions. Women with scars darker than rest of their skin and raised, exhibits characteristics of dense adhesions, irrespective whether it’s indented or not.
What are the complications of c-section adhesion?
The complications may not appear immediately but months or year after surgery. Some women may not develop any complication despite the presence of adhesions. But some women might experience:
- Bowel obstruction or extreme difficulty passing stool
- Risk of ectopic pregnancy
- Increased chances of infertility
- Increased risk of adhesion in next c-section surgery
- Risk of subsequent adhesion surgeries
Diagnostic procedure of c-section adhesion
Unfortunately, adhesions are often misdiagnosed as they don’t appear on x-rays and other imaging tests. Adhesion may pass off as being a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Often the patients are sent to a gastroenterologist for endoscopic evaluation of upper and lower bowel. Though x-ray cannot diagnose the condition, it may confirm severe bowel obstruction.
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Treatment options for c-section adhesion
Treatment will depend on the symptoms affecting your physiology.
- If there is an obstruction in bowel due to adhesions, you might require surgery to reopen the intestine.
- For chronic pelvic pain and infertility, the treatment involves cutting through adhesions, a procedure known as adhesiolysis.
- New adhesion can still form after surgery as its part of natural healing process. In that case, laparoscopic adhesiolysis can cut the chances of further adhesion by minimizing injury to abdominal organs. This minimally invasive technique is often considered a proper and safe treatment option.
How can we reduce the chances of adhesion resulting from c-section?
To minimize the risk of adhesion after c-section, the best and the ideal way is to deliver the baby vaginally. Many women can deliver normally even after c-section and reduce the chances of adhesion. Secondly, surgical operations involving a minimal incision and least manipulation of organs can decrease the possibility of adhesions.
Many obstetricians also use synthetic adhesion barriers such as Seprafilm. This device is placed between the uterus and the abdominal incision after c-section delivery and repairing of the uterus. According to an article published in "Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology," experts say it can drastically reduce the chances of adhesion reformation to as much as 90 percent. This was an outcome of clinical trial on 13 patients. For women specifically undergoing c-section surgery, use of Seprafilm reduced formation of adhesion from 48 percent to 7.4 percent.
As its one of the common conditions post c-section, if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s time to ring the doctor.