You’re biggest fear happened: you underwent a C Section. The procedure is performed in 1-in-3 women, so there’s no major cause for concern as it’s routine surgery. But no matter how well-trained the doctor may be, there is still a risk of scar tissue after a C Section.
Scar tissue needs to form to help the wound heal, but there is a tiny problem: adhesions.
Table of Contents
1. What Are Adhesions?
Adhesions occur internally when the body undergoes severe trauma, inflammation or infection. Surgery, like the one performed to help deliver your baby, constitutes as a traumatic experience. The issue is that most doctors either fail to disclose the concern of adhesions or simply lack the time to tell their patients about the possibility of adhesions.
When you have adhesions, you’ll have:
- Thick, fibrous bands of tissue form
These internal bands are only present following the trauma, and they don’t indicate a surgery gone wrong or any health issues.
2. Can I Prevent Adhesions?
Scar tissue after a C Section is not preventable. Adhesions are a band of internal scar tissue, and the body naturally starts to form scar tissue after a traumatic experience. This is the body’s natural healing mechanism working to repair the area and prevent further issues,
Adhesions can occur on any part of the body, so it’s not just for women who suffer from complicated birthing.
You may even have adhesions form from:
- Radiation treatment
Adhesions form quickly, and they’ll often occur within days of the procedure.
3. Do Adhesions Hurt?
It sounds scary to hear that you’re suffering from something you’ve never even seen before, but don’t fear: adhesions don’t hurt. These are painless formations that pose no risk to a person outside of very few people who may suffer from bowel obstructions.
Bowel obstructions are serious, and it’s believed that adhesions are the main factor in obstructions.
If you do have these obstructions, they can present in weeks or years, depending on the person. You’ll find that the scar tissue restricts the small intestine from functioning properly. There is a risk that the blockage becomes such an issue that the entire bowel becomes obstructed.
In severe cases, surgery will be required.
If a person cannot pass food, severe illness or death can occur.
Symptoms of adhesions after a C-Section include:
- Bowel movement pain
- Trouble standing up straight
- Pain during sex
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Tenderness near the scar
If you suspect that you may have scar tissue that is becoming a real problem, you must see your doctor and undergo testing to make sure that no obstructions are present.
4. What Treatment Options Are Available for Adhesions?
- Pain Meds: A doctor may try to alleviate the pain and determine the severity of the issue. This will allow you to remain much more comfortable, but it’s not a cure unless the symptoms subside.
- Antibiotics: A round of antibiotics may be in order to reduce the risk of infection and help alleviate swelling. This is a great precautionary measure because it ensures that the patient is able to lower their risk of an infection before opting for surgery.
- Surgery: In the most severe cases, surgery may be the only option. Surgery is performed to remove the scar tissue and help clear up any blockages you may have.
Surgery can be performed in two main ways:
- Laparoscopy: This form of surgery uses a camera that is placed in a tiny hole in the skin to view the tissue and allow the doctor to cut the tissue as needed.
- Laparotomy: This surgical procedure uses a larger incision to allow the doctor to get an up-close look at the adhesions and treat them according to the doctor’s findings. Every circumstance differs, so a doctor may choose to perform the surgery differently than another doctor.
Treatment is performed on a case-by-case basis. If you believe that you’re suffering from adhesions, the best course of action is to consult with a medical professional to undergo a complete medical diagnosis of the problem.
5. Can Adhesions Return After Surgery?
Yes. A person who undergoes surgery is still likely to suffer from additional adhesions. The issue is that the elastic bands in the stomach are cut and will form back together in many cases. Surgery in itself causes adhesions and scar tissue, so while the doctor may cut through this tissue, there is a chance of regrowth.
Multiple surgeries or measures may be taken to help prevent further adhesion growth in the future.
6. Can Scar Tissue After a C Section Prevent Future Births?
Scar tissue does pose risks for any woman who tries to have a natural birth after surgery. There are thousands of women that do go through with a normal birth after a C-section, and the majority of these women end up healthy and with a happy baby.
But not every woman is a good candidate.
A medical professional will need to evaluate each women case-by-case in an effort to determine her level of health.
You also need to consider the small risk of the C Section scar reopening.
There are reports of a woman’s scar reopening when trying to have a natural birth. As you may have guessed, this is a dire issue that can lead to serious infections and a risk of death if not properly handled. Any woman that has underwent a C Section will need to consult with a doctor before trying to go the natural route in the future.
An emergency C Section may be recommended if the baby goes into distress and the mother is at a high risk of complications.
But even with adhesions, the majority of women will be able to get pregnant and add to their family without issues.