Adhesions After A C-Section

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You’ve just come out from having a caesarean. You’re happy that your scar is healing well, and you seem to be on the mend after some fairly major surgery. But have you had a general undiagnosed pain in your abdomen even years after having a caesarean? Something that no one really does tell you about is future postpartum complications. About adhesions after a c-section.

*This post has been updated, it was first published in October 2018

Adhesions After a C-Section

Adhesions after a C Section - problems after a caesarean section are a more common post birth postpartum complication. Read on to find out what my symptoms were and what I have discovered about this condition. Also find out what the causes and possible solutions could be. Postpartum birth problems, childbirth and c-section recovery tips, recovery timeline

 

For me, the first three weeks after having a C-section were actually far better than I had expected.

Read this post here for my post operative tips after a C-section.

I’d had to stay in hospital for 5 nights, by which time I felt that I had really started to heal. My scar seemed to be settling well, I started to be able to stand upright again and I was regaining good mobility. I put this down to staying quite active after the operation.

Of course, because of the surgery, sitting up was hard from being laid flat, but I was coping well. And then about a month after having Elizabeth I started to have some real problems.

The first thing that I noticed was that I had some real problems after eating. Straight away after eating my abdomen would swell up and be really painful. It felt like something was really pulling inside. And heaven forbid I ate anything spicy! My stomach would end up like a balloon.

At the same time I had a real back pain. But the pain would also be much worse if my stomach was painful. And my pelvis was really aching.

Now, when I had been pregnant I had definitely had pelvic pain in late pregnancy (as the pelvis ligaments start to soften in late pregnancy it is common to have pelvic pain) so I just considered all this to be a side effect of my body trying to get back to normal. But after almost 3 months I went to see my doctor.

Who didn’t really help.

 

He referred me to a physiotherapist, which was (slightly) useful for the back pain, but didn’t quite address the abdominal swelling or the pain after eating.

About 4 times I visited my GP, each time saying how bad my stomach pain was and how I swelled up with food.  I ate a FODMAP, gluten free and dairy free diet but to no avail. Even started eating bran fibre. I stopped caffeine, fruit and fizzy drinks. Nothing changed.

The doctors prescribed buscopan and peppermint capsules, telling me that I had developed irritable bowel syndrome after being pregnant.  The tablets helped, but not much.

I went back to work after a 6 month maternity leave, and occasionally I would be doubled up in pain at work. The pain after eating was still there and occasionally it was unbearable.

I was also hoping to try again for another baby with my partner, but intercourse was painful and I would swell up afterwards. It would cause an awful lot of pain and so we stopped trying.

It was a major factor in why I am now resigned to only having one child.

 

I Was Really Worried.

 

The most concerning thing for me was the worry that it was something more serious. It may sound melodramatic, but I lost my Dad to bowel cancer when I was in my early 20s. He was only 61. What if this was something more serious?

I pushed my GP for a second opinion and thankfully a bowel cancer screening test came back negative. They also referred me to a gastrointestinal consultant.

By this time a good 9 months had gone past. I was at work, but pretty much living with constant daily pain. It would have been great to say that I was losing weight due to all this, but I wasn’t. I was so upset on one GP appointment that she declared that I was suffering from post natal depression and gave me antidepressants! She actually thought that they would help with the pain. Unfortunately they didn’t really.

My maternal mental health was really suffering.

Scans

 

After just over a year I was seen for an MRI scan at a local hospital. The consultant examined the images, again reassured me that it was nothing serious. But he told me what it probably was.

He told me that he thought I was suffering with adhesions after a c-section. Until that point NO-ONE had mentioned adhesions!

Strangely enough, a friend of mine was also having some real issues. Like me, she had real bowel problems, with IBS symptoms that did not resolve with any treatments. She also had many endometriosis symptoms, and was finally going to have an operation to investigate the cause. She had been having these symptoms since she had had a caesarean a number of years previously.

When they investigated her pelvic floor in keyhole surgery they found lots of scar tissue which they attributed to her caesarean years before. They warned her that it may affect her future fertility.

It was also possible that these adhesions to her bowel could cause a bowel obstruction or tear. Finally they told her that these were adhesions after a c-section, when no doctor had ever even mentioned this as a possible cause of all her troubles.

*Update* – this same friend is still having lots of issues several years after the keyhole surgery…

Sadly, I was also warned that there was no way to remove any adhesions. If you try and remove the scar tissue with surgery, it just creates a further problem as more scar tissue comes to bind the area even more.

Adhesions after a C Section - problems after a caesarean section are a more common post birth postpartum complication. Read on to find out what my symptoms were and what I have discovered about this condition. Also find out what the causes and possible solutions could be. #postpartum #birthproblems #childbirth #motherhood #caesarean #csectionrecovery #csectiontips #csectionrecoverytimeline #csectionbelly #postpartumcare #adhesions #IBScauses

 

So? How do you know that you may have adhesions after a c-section?

The following symptoms can arise with adhesions after a c-section.

  • Acute pain on moving that may even be sharp and stabbing. Trouble standing up straight.
  • Chronic pain – sometimes non-diagnosable pain even years after having a caesarean.
  • A swollen or bloated abdomen
  • Pain during intercourse – or pain and swelling of the abdomen afterwards
  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful Bowel Movements
  • Constipation or IBS symptoms
  • Increased pain when menstruating.
  • A painful scar

Recent research has stated that you are more likely to have adhesions if your scar is

  • raised,
  • indented (i.e. you can see the scar pulling if you lay down) or
  • dark in colour.

I will say however that my scar is none of these.

Almost 5 years on I still do suffer occasionally with abdominal bloating. I also occasionally suffer after eating spicy food, though not to the extent that I did that first year. After about 18 months I found that the swelling and pain became far less frequent, and whilst they haven’t completely stopped, they do not affect me day to day like back then. I definitely have more diarrhoea and constipation issues. And sometimes get pulling pains in my abdominal side.

My cure has been time. But I still would advise you try the IBS medications if that is your main symptom. I do still occasionally self prescribe buscopan and peppermint oil capsules / tablets if I do have abdominal pain. I would also say do go see your GP – as always I’m not a medic, so obviously their expertise is far greater. And every case is different.

 

Lots Of Women Have IBS or Digesive Issues With Pregnancy and In The Months After Birth

 

A further thing that the gastro-intestinal consultant told me was that a lot of women suffer with constipation and IBS problem during pregnancy and after birth. In fact, he said that being pregnant and having children can completely change  the way the gut reacts. 

No-one has told me this. When I was pregnant, I had suffered for the first time ever with constipation. The midwife did not really comment on this, she just asked me to stay more hydrated and gave me lactulose. But in truth I was actually drinking a lot more than normal when pregnant, as I am not normally good at staying hydrated. 

 

Do Read Some Of The Comments Below

I have discovered since I first wrote this post 2 years ago that it really resonated with women from all over the world. I have subsequently had lots of really useful comments, suggestion and stories written in the comments of this post. Whilst it may not answer your questions, I would definitely say to give the comments a read that come after this post. And do add your own story or suggestion as it may be of use to someone else further down the line.

5 years on from my caesarean experience I do still suffer occasionally with tightness and some digestive issues. I also suffer from back issues… which I will possibly cover in a future post, as I do think these too stem from my birth complications. 

So – do you have any of these symptoms of adhesions after a c-section? I would love to hear your stories. Do comment below. Or connect with me on social media.

 

Enjoyed this? Why not read  My Birth Story?

Adhesions after a C Section - problems after a caesarean section are a more common post birth postpartum complication. Read on to find out what my symptoms were and what I have discovered about this condition. Also find out what the causes and possible solutions could be. #postpartum #birthproblems #childbirth #motherhood #caesarean #csectionrecovery #csectiontips #csectionrecoverytimeline #csectionbelly #postpartumcare #adhesions #IBScauses

And please do pin this post for later.

Adhesions after a C Section - problems after a caesarean section are a more common post birth postpartum complication. Read on to find out what my symptoms were and what I have discovered about this condition. Also find out what the causes and possible solutions could be. #postpartum #birthproblems #childbirth #motherhood #caesarean #csectionrecovery #csectiontips #csectionrecoverytimeline #csectionbelly #postpartumcare #adhesions #IBScauses

 

 
 

 

73 Replies to “Adhesions After A C-Section”

      1. Autumn says:

        I am having the same issues and to think the doctor at the ER said that it was possibly scar tissue. I thought he was crazy but this has to be it all the same symptoms.

        Reply
    1. emma stockhill says:

      3-4 years after my cesarean I started to suffer with severe abdominal pains, always at the doctors or A&E with unbearable pains, couldn’t have sex had time off work struggled exercising and eating, I lost a dramatic amount of weight.
      My worries were everything was always fine and nothing could be identified, bloods, urine, STD’s, ultrasound.
      I was beginning to think I was making these “pains” up and it was all in my head, I hoped everytime the doctors would find something just so I had an answer, during investigations I was treated for pelvic inflammatory disease, IBS and told I may have endometriosis.
      I was a young mum (17) so was not old enough for a smear and even with my symtoms and me pretty much begging for a smear was refused numerous times, my worry was is this cervical cancer as its been in the family.
      We was trying for a baby during this time and was unsuccessful.
      Eventually I had a laparoscopy 10/12/18 and they found dramatic amounts of scar tissue which had connected my ovaries to my abdominal wall and wrapped around other organs so these were separated this was 5years on.
      Magically I got pregnant on 23/1/19 so this was actually the cause for my not getting pregnant.
      We had our second daughter by cesarean in october 2019 and hear I am again with the very familiar pain from before but much more sooner this time only 4months in, because I have experienced this before I know exactly what it is.

      Please keep pushing your GPs because if it wasn’t for me constantly asking and raising my concerns so offen I would never had it done.
      Always listen to your body because no1 knows it like you do.

      Reply
      1. Jo Boyne says:

        Thank you for sharing your story. As you say, it can be hard if the medical professionals don’t seem to want to listen. But you do know your body best. I hope you get some help this time around.

        Reply
        1. Sarah says:

          Hiya, I just wondered if you had pain/discomfort when lifting or if your child tries to climb on you? I’ve had 3 c sections and my youngest is now 3. I have only been able to exercise the last year or so. I’m wondering if it is adhesions, the discomfort is in different places but not around my scar it tends to be higher up. Thanks

          Reply
          1. Jo Boyne says:

            I did have general pain to be honest. And it was also up under my diaphragm, not just in the area of my scar. I certainly think it is worth asking your doctor if it could be adhesions?

          2. Kellyann says:

            Mother of two, first delivery was natural, no complications. Second delivery was a nightmare. Gestational diabetes and baby was breach throughout entire pregnancy. C section was scheduled for 1 week before his due date, but baby broke water 2 weeks before due date. First pregnant was precipitous, so I knew this one would come quickly. I had a one hour drive to the hospital, but there was a car accident between us, and we almost didn’t make it. While stuck in the managed to get an ambulance.
            Timeline: Water broke at 11pm, we called an ambulance mid-route to hospital who picked it up at 11:53 and got us to the hospital quickly (6 mile drive in total) baby was born at 12:20.

            I knew it was going to be a csection, I was prepared for that, I knew it was going to be very different than my first, but I wasn’t prepared for the four for months of convincing doctors that something was wrong.

            At the hospital I spend an extra day (amid COVID19 worries) because I physically could not get myself out of the bed without assistance.

            It was not any better when I got home. 5 separate ER visits in the first month after delivery. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t eat, or sit comfortably. I definitely couldn’t get out of bed.. I was “sleeping” in a chair, with a new born.

            They finally got a diagnosis: gall bladder issues. Unfortunately, gall bladder removal without an infection is considered “elective surgery,” which was on hold due to COVID19.

            When I finally had gall bladder removal surgery l, they realized it was adhesions. They removed my gallbladder anyway, “cleaned up” my c section and send me home.

            It’s been almost a year and I’m still not better. My csection scar looks like a midriff canyon (.. almost a year later) . I’m uncomfortable all the time. I haven’t take a full, deep breath and expanded my lungs in since 2019. And I don’t see any end to this discomfort..

          3. Jo Boyne says:

            Wow this really does sound like an extreme case if it is affecting your breathing. All I can say is keep on at your healthcare provider. And keep asking what they can do and why they haven’t done anything. Sadly, I do realise that COVID is having such an effect on whether people are seen and whether non-emergency treatment is provided. But you do need to keep reminding them that you are still in pain.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Karen. Part of me wishes that I’d had a natural birth, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately.

      Reply
  1. Cheryl | TimeToCraft says:

    Never heard of this before. My first was an emergency C-section, ruling out my planned home birth. I was so stubborn that I was back home within 24hours of the operation. I can now see I was very lucky to have no complications. Hope that time continues to help you. #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Glad that you had no problems after your op, and thank you for reading

      Reply
    2. Rae says:

      I having all the same issues and nothing seems to help. I’ve had a CT scan and a colonoscopy and they have found nothing. I am currently 7 weeks pregnant with my second and the pain is unbearable. Far worse than I have ever experienced. I am hopeful with a second c section they can put things back together better because this is no way to live. I’ve been told it’s IBS and to figure out how to deal with it. I have also been treated for SIBO and that seemed to help for a month or so but always comes back. Very common to develop SIBO after abdominal surgery but most doctors don’t talk about it bc it’s hard to diagnose. I plan to do another SIBO treatment after baby. You cannot treat while pregnant.

      Reply
      1. Jo Boyne says:

        So sorry to hear this. I hope that you get it sorted with a second CS. I was also told that pregnancy can affect your digestive system, and found that my digestion has been completely different since having a child.

        Reply
        1. Lana says:

          Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been going through so many similar issues, to the point that I’m now 3.5years post c-section and still occasionally Google my symptoms for answers, cause I never got anywhere with the Dr’s. The list of symptoms is absolutely 100% me, and my scar doesn’t match any of those descriptions either. I’ve been told IBS (which I have had in the past, so knew it wasn’t that) or possible endometriosis, but because the only way of getting a diagnosis of endo is through laparoscopic surgery, it’s never even been entertained. There had been mention of possible scat tissue, but again obviously no way of knowing without investigation. I’m now almost a year into being back on the combined pill (last resort as I was at the end of my tether between this and constant irregular periods/spotting) and I have to say, its not completely gone away, but I do think it’s gotten better with time. I still get the odd random stabbing pain that takes my breath away, but it just seems to be one of those things I’ll have to live with. Reading posts like this and seeing so many commenting on how similar their experiences have been is both reassuring not to be alone and deeply discouraging that so many are going through these things for so long without answers. I feel like this needs to be shared with medical professionals so they can understand how powerless they make us feel when it comes to our own health. I know they can only go with what they are presented with and unfortunately quite often their hands are tied as they don’t have the time/resources, but we should never be made to feel we don’t know our own bodies or are making these things up. OK I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thanks again for sharing your experience and research and to all who have commented

          Reply
          1. Jo Boyne says:

            I am pretty sure that we are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry that you are still having trouble years on, like you I still get the odd twinge, but in the main time has healed me somewhat. As you say though, getting diagnosed was a major difficulty, and sometimes it felt as though we were not listened to.

      2. Heather says:

        I am currently almost 7 weeks pp after my 3rd csection. I’ve been dealing with constant abdominal tenderness. Not like you describe but adhesions are still on my mind as I’ve never felt like this before with any of mine. They did tell me at my 6 week follow up that it could be scar tissue but that we could wait on investigating in a few months to see if it gets better. Mainly I have tenderness around my lower abdomen and pen under my belly button and to the right of it. I’m hoping it isn’t a bad case and gets better with time but of course it just sucks feeling sore all of the time. I’m curious even if it is adhesions…is there really anything they can do anyway if it’s “mild” since surgery will just create more?

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I would say that these questions are possibly only able to be answered by your medical professional. But as you say, more surgery may not help, as sometimes removing old adhesions just serves to create new ones, as my friend discovered. I hope that your discomfort does improve.

          Reply
  2. Penny Bull says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you – but well done for posting and raising awareness for anybody else who may be suffering from the same thing. GPs/hospitals can be so rubbish sometimes it’s genuinely worrying!
    #itsok

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. If someone else reads it and doesn’t have to go through 15 months of misdiagnosis then that’s good enough for me!

      Reply
      1. Amy Pickering says:

        I’m 6-7 weeks in after a. Emergency c section.. I was epilating my legs last night bent over one leg and now I’ve got like a trapped wind feeling in my abdomen and it feels bruised above the incision.. is this the start of adhesions?

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I think you need to discuss that with your doctor if it persists.

          Reply
          1. L says:

            I’m 15 years after my second c sect. I have chronic constipation since and have asked for help from my GP too many times to count. I have tried all the Diets and all the laxatives but nothing works. Fibre, water – you name it, I’ve tried it! Just last week I finally had my answer – a gastroenterologist did a colonoscopy and he found my bowels are a mess of twists and turns – due, he said, to adhesions almost certainly from my c sects as these are my only history of abdominal surgery. There is no cure or surgery to fix. He has recommended an osmotic laxative like Osmolax – to be taken every day for the rest of my life. It’s been a week now and this isn’t working. But I’d been taking that one before in one of my many attempts to find a solution myself. I am grateful for my health children but it’s likely the coming (and past) years of this bowel disorder will impact my health and possibly length of my life. My father had bowel cancer in his 70s so I am worried about my future. I just have to learn to live with it.

          2. Jo Boyne says:

            I am so sorry to hear this. And do hope that the Osmolax does eventually help.

      2. Yvette says:

        Hi Jo I would love to pick your brains.
        U had my third c section 8months ago and have been getting a very painful, kinda feels tight abdomen, I do bloat a lot to. I have had pulling pains in my pelvic area ever since my first section too.
        I first got the abdominal pain days after my last section. Do you think it could be adhesions?
        Thanks for sharing your story

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          It does sound like my experience. But I would suggest that you mention this to your ObGyn, midwife or medical practitioner for it to be checked out further. If it is still going on ands giving you real issues after 8 months then it really does need looking at by the professionals.

          Reply
  3. Unmindfulmama says:

    Such a great post to raise awareness about complications following a C-Section. Both of my births were by emergency C-Section and I was shocked at how little recovery information was given after such major surgery. Most people were only interested in how the scar was healing, but there was very little focus on what was happening ‘underneath’. Thankfully, I didn’t experience the pain from adhesions you describe, but I did have discomfort and numbness from scar tissue, which I only learned how to treat after seeing a women’s health physio. Hopefully, this will change and there will be more understanding of what our bodies go through after this kind of birth and how to support ourselves to heal. #itsok.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, it amazed me too. Until the practice midwife was weighing my baby a week after the birth when she commented on how well I was doing considering I’d had such a big op…!

      Reply
      1. Christie says:

        I’m literally going through the exact same thing right now! However, I’ve suffered for over 7 years. First c section 8 years ago and second one 3 years ago. Been to GI doctors over and over. All tests normal. Headed to Gyno next week to ask about possible adhesions.

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I hope that they can help. It does amaze me though that they never really discuss the possibility of adhesions!

          Reply
      2. Lucy says:

        So, I’m 2.5 years post emergency cesarean section. 9cm on arrival at hospital, to be told our baby was breach. He must have been breach the whole time. Went to dr within first 8 mths for pains in intestine area, offered buscopan. I have no issues going to the toilet other than urgency pee’ing which has only been there post birth too. Now, the aches are like pains now and intermittent. At it’s worst, pulling sensations, pain in various areas in what feels like the intestine area. The dr now said she can feel there’s dilated bits in my stomach and I’m booked for an ultrasound in 2 weeks. Will ultrasound show adhesions? It feels like there’s things in my intestine or that it’s twisted?

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I would ask the ultrasound technician if adhesions can be seen, and discuss this with your ob/gyn consultant. It does sound as though you are having adhesion type symptoms, but I’m not qualified to diagnose. Do keep at your healthcare provider for answers. Hope you find a solution.

          Reply
  4. MomOfTwoLittleGirls says:

    I’m so sorry you have had to go through this. I’m glad the symptoms have lessened.
    Thanks for linking up to the #itok linky. Hope to see you again next week.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. It seems it it a pretty common post op complication, but not one that is ever discussed.

      Reply
  5. TheMumConundrum says:

    I’m a three time c section mama so I know the pain of adhesions very well! I have to say, I would never have even considered them to be the cause of my discomfort if it weren’t for the fact that a friend of mine (who had also had sections) had huge problems with them a few years ago. A super-helpful post for post c-section mums struggling with pain in the months after having their babies. thanks for linking up with #ItsOK xx

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      As well as the friend that I mention, since posting this 2 other friends have independently said that they’ve had some of the issues I did after their caesareans. Nobody had told them about this being possibly due to adhesions either. Thank you for reading

      Reply
  6. Alexandra says:

    Wow, this is so intense – I hadn’t heard of these complications, so I appreciate you sharing your story.

    Reply
  7. Kirsty says:

    This post was really interesting to me as I have had to have 3 sections. The first being an emergency. It sounds like I had a lucky run and sorry you have had to experience this. What strikes me is that when I have had this op 3 times no one has ever mentioned this as a possible issue. In fact apart from the threat of infection no one ever mentioned any potential issues to look out for. It is odd you have major surgery and just get packed off with a baby to look after… The same would not happen if you had any other form of abdominal surgery methinks. A subject close to my heart as you can tell. Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      No, it amazes me that they send a lot of women out after just one night! At least I got wound care by being in longer!

      Reply
  8. Crummy Mummy says:

    I didn’t have c-sections with mine BUT I have experienced side effects after birth, things that have never been the same since & cause daily pain. Like you things have got better over time thank goodness! #itsok

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Ben. Hope everything goes smoothly for your wife.

      Reply
    2. Helen says:

      LadIes there needs to be more awareness for c section recovery… especially emergency c section. I can relate to all your comments… I had an emergency c section 2016 and was re admitted shortly after because in my words had weird right sided pain….couldn’t find out why apart from saying there was some residual tissue whatever that is…. fast forward 3 years im bloated gassy the left side of my pelvis is perfect. But the right side is so painful dont even get me started on ovulation and period pain! The amount of times ive been to hospital thinking its appendicitis or ovarian torsion is ridiculous just to be scanned or given pain killers… ive had mri internal scans im severely urinally incontinent, im grateful to the hospital for saving my baby and me but my quality of life now is a joke…. ive been to the gp recently due to the symptoms to query ovarian cancer and as a result had 2 ca125 tests and normal….I dread my period im scared of more surgery as it creates more problems but I don’t want to carry on like this. I went for a scan to be told my ovary wasnt visible I asked my dr why? She said because urge probably covered in scar tissue or moved out of place… I dont know how these celebrities opt for c sections like its a trip to the dentist. Its hell!!

      Reply
  9. Kim says:

    I just came across your article while searching for answers on why I still have excruciating, sharp pain when I change positions, 8 years after my THIRD csection. Now I’ve found that yours is not the only one to mention the IBS and digestive issues that I’ve been dealing with for several years now as well. Those issues led to gallstones and my gallbladder being removed. Three and a half years after gallbladder removal and I still have horrible digestive issues. I’m convinced I have adhesions. I’ve been to GI, had colonoscopy and endoscopy and they can’t find anything major that would be causing all my issues. Tried FODMAP with no results. Guess it’s pointless to look for the adhesions as it seems nothing can be done.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I tried FODMAP to no avail too. And at the moment it does seem as though there is no solution to adhesions. i hope that things improve.

      Reply
  10. Amaya Amos says:

    Hi Jo and all of you!, you cannot imagine how well I understand you. I had my firt c-section 14 years ago. It was a emergency one and the recovery was relly painfull, but 15 days later I was feeling really well again and enjoying my little baby so much!. I will never forget the trip we made to New York 10 months later when everything started. I felt for the first time in my life bowel problems. I had pain, gas… and thought I had eaten something in Manhattan that caused me a small indigestion. Well, how wrong I was. The problems went on for weeks and started really worring me. Like you, there are cases of bowel cancer in my family and I was so afraid of having something serious and not being able to take care of my baby!. They checked me for everything, parasites, colonoscopy… and nothing showed. I ended up with buscapine and fiber …
    And obviously the problems just went on. I changed my diet a thousand times, eliminated certain products, looked for some more natural medicines.. but nothing worked. I was terribly bloated, had diarrhea many days, my belly was just so full of gas and tthe pain after going to the toilet was terrible. Awful!. I still could enjoy my baby and even had the energy to get pregnant again. The pregnancy was so much worse than the first one. I felt everything pulling in my belly, the gas was unbearable, some days I could not stand up straight… Anyway, they recommended a second c-section and when the doctor opened my belly I will never forget his question. “But how many c-sections have you had? I thought you had only had one, right?”. I confirmed it to him and his next sentence gave me so much peace, finally I knew what had been going on with me for the past three years. He told me “You are so very full of adhesions. Your abdomen seems to have gone under 3 or 4 c-sections in stead of one”.
    The surgery was very good, the recovery amazing and felt really well for 7 years. I guessed he released some of the adhesions and new ones had not formed yet. I had my health back (it was never like before having had the babies, I still got bloated very often, but it was good enough) until everything got really bad again. Gas, pain, bloating severely… one evening the pain became really bad, I also started having nausea… one hour later I was really sick… and was diagnosed with partial intestinal obstruction due to abdominal adhesions. After a few hours everything returned back to normal.
    I had another one 6 months later. Now my symptoms vary very much. Somedays I feel really well, others really bad and most of them neither well nor bad. I feel something is wrong but I can put up with the discomfort quite well. They are reluctant to do anything. They do not want to open me again, not even lamparoscopy seems to be an option for me. I guess nothing is going to be done until I get a complete bowel obstruction… I don´t know.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Oh I do hope that they can find some solution for you! But will say that my friend had a laparoscopy and it didn’t really help.

      Reply
  11. Pauline says:

    Hi Jo and everyone here,
    I had my first c section 23 years ago followed by next one the following year. Since then I’ve suffered so badly with abdo pain, low back pain, tearing pain if I move awkwardly, gas pains and so on.
    I’ve now reached menopause and found that whilst things seemed to settle down in respect of the pain associated with periods, the constipation has caused some serious issues for me.
    This culminated in me being sent for a colonoscopy to investigate what was going on. Well I thought I was going to die when they started entering the camera and push it through my lower intestine. I became tachycardic and they had to stop immediately. I’ve since been told this was caused by adhesions which confirms my diagnosis years back by a gynaecologist.
    When I look back over the years of pain I’ve had it makes me sad to think how no one warned me of the complications of this type of surgery. I’m glad to read these stories and feel I’m not alone so thank you.
    P

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you had so many problems after your c-section. But as you say, we are not alone in this, and I am just glad to be able to give a voice to all those going through the same thing.

      Reply
    1. Kate says:

      I’ve been having the same since an appendix removal 6 months after my c section. Loads of tests and no one can find out what’s wrong. Makes you feel like you’re making it up! I am in very early pregnancy and in a lot of pain lower right pelvis and can’t find anything about people being in similar situations and early on in pregnancy. I’m being tested to find out what’s going on but be good to know if other people have had pain from their scar right at the beginning and it isn’t anything more serious 🙁

      Reply
      1. Jo Boyne says:

        Possibly a second operation in that region so soon after a c-section could cause further adhesions. I would talk to your GP though. I am no expert, but as you can see, lots of others who have read this post have suffered similarly with pain and feel exactly the same about not being believed.

        Reply
  12. Wendy Lee says:

    Reading your post has never been more timely, I just delivered my daughter via c-sec a couple of months ago and occasionally i do have some bloating and pain. I will use your peppermint oil treatment and also see my obgyn next week to see if there’s anything i should be concerned about. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Kate Partridge says:

    Thanks, this is such a helpful blog!

    I wanted to see if I can help some fellow sufferers with what I’ve learnt.

    Some NHS trusts have women’s health physios. You can self refer to them – so no need to go through the GP. They deal with all sorts of issues including post birth prolapse, adhesions, incontinence and pain. I had no idea but since finding this out, I wish I had known before and want to tell as many women as I can. It’s such a specialist field – not all physios might realise your back pain is related to your shattered pelvic floor!

    I was in a LOT of pain post C-Section but had had a long induction Labour resulting in a c-section, blood loss and of course a baby that wouldn’t sleep! I assumed the pain level was a result of all those issues and not being able to recover properly I raised concerns several times at hospital and at my 8 week check. I was told I might be “overdoing it”. I also berated myself that I must have a low pain threshold!

    My physio now tells me no one should have pain 2 weeks post C section!

    A year or so later my pains had just about gone. My periods were painful and heavy but something I put down to happening after having a baby. I slowly got back into exercise and particularly pilates which I now believe really helped with my recovery and pain so strongly recommend with a good teacher.

    It was such a difficult time that we didn’t start trying for another baby for at least 4 years. And then of course we couldn’t get pregnant! Adhesions can cause infertility.

    After a few years we eventually tried fertility treatments. I had some tests which didn’t show any issues. We were so lucky and on the 3rd round became pregnant with twins!

    I carried them to 36 weeks. At times I felt like my c-section might burst but assumed it was pregnancy paranoia and a result of being so big with the 2 of them.

    The surgeon was horrified when we started my c-section. He nearly did an emergency hysterectomy. My uterus was fused to my abdominals. My bladder was behind my uterus. My baby boy basically was starring back at him when he expected to see bladder and a uterus wall.

    I was asked whether I was in horrific pain after my first birth? Had I had bad periods? Had I had trouble getting pregnant?

    I was then told I had to sit in a chair for 3 months and recover properly. I was given a 24 hour epidural to help with the pain and decent pain killers and help to go home with.

    So if you feel something isn’t right then please do raise it again and again. I know it’s hard, especially with lovey babies to look after but you are important too.

    We are all very lucky to be here and knowing that this was the issue might have saved a lot of pain and heartache along the way.

    There isn’t enough awareness, particularly from GPS.

    2 years on from the delivery, the pain has eased. I had good help – pre lockdown – from the physio and am considering surgery when the babies are older but ideally I’ll get back to full function through exercises. Decent pain relief has been critical at times and I wouldn’t hesitate to push a GP for what you need!

    Take care everyone and good luck!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Wow. Sorry to hear about all your difficulties. But what brilliant advice. Thank you for sharing this! I’m actually going to add a section in this post about reading the comments in the hope that more people read your helpful advice.

      Reply
  14. Sarah Tudor says:

    This post has been very enlightening. Luckily (I think) post myonectomy surgery to remove a pretty big fibroid that was on the outside of my uterus, I was told continued pain was likely adhesions. At the time it was mainly my hip that was painful but now 2 years later the bloating, painful bowels and sharp pains continue. It’s re-assuring that everyone else’s experience seems to point to the same diagnosis as me as like everyone else you do worry – I am beginning to think another fibroid has grown but being menopausal now they say that is not possible. Anyway I will try finding out if there is a women’s physio at my local trust in the hope that they might have a solution to the pain issue. Thank you everyone for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Sabrina Hanlon says:

    I feel human again after reading this post! I have had 3 c-sections, first was an emergency! After first i was fine, no issues and he is 15, after 2nd he is 8 bit bloated nothing major. But after the 3rd- OMG- from day 1 I have had bloating, diarea,stomach pain, painful intercourse, abnormal bleeding, and just above my scar I do get a hard lump. I’ve had every test done including ultrasounds and MRI, Results ‘ scar tissue’. I do try massage my tummy every day and I also take lactose, it helps with bowel movement so I’m not as gassy or bloated. I’ve cut out lots of diff foods as I felt certain food flared up the bloating( not sure if bloating is food or scar tissue related) . The irregular bleeding- my smears are all coming back normal, I did have fibroids removed last year, but that didnt stop the bleeding,so I had an app with a specialist in September and he said he sees a fibroid in my womb, so I’m going to get that removes and hopefully that solves that prob.
    I really feel at ease after reading this post just to realise that I’m not alone, or imaging these symptoms.

    Reply
  16. Angie Scrivener says:

    Does anyone know if these adhesions can affect you 30 years after having your las c section.

    I have just come out of hospital after spending two days in there with excruciating abdominal pain on my scar. They have done bloods, urine, scans and told me there is nothing wrong and sent me home just to take pain killers.

    20 years ago I had a hysterectomy and when they operated I had scar tissue attached to my bladder and they had to cut it away.

    I am just wondering if this could be the case again, I just can’t go on like this, I feel like a fake.

    HELP someone x

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I would ask your GP. And ask to be rerefered. As I say a lot in the comments, I needed to keep on asking, and even when it feels like a brick wall. It’s very difficult getting a face to face appointment in the pandemic. But do keep on at your healthcare provider. I hope they find out what the issue is!

      Reply
  17. Mary says:

    Hi! Im a massage therapist studying this very thing. Adhesions form on the organs surrounding the uterus and can be broken up to some degree with massage therapy. Was this ever mentioned to anyone here or did anyone recieve massage therapy for c-section scar?

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Hi Mary. No, that was never even spoken about to me personally as an option, but is certainly really interesting. Thank you for reading!

      Has anyone else been offered or discussed this?

      Reply
  18. Lulee says:

    I am going for MicroCurrent Point Stimulation which is supposed to release the scar adhesions. The scientific studies on it are outstanding- everyone has positive results. And… it’s not invasive so you don’t have yet another thing to heal from.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Do let me know how you get on with this, will be interesting to see. I hope it works for you!

      Reply
  19. Allicea says:

    I’ve had 4 ceseareans over the course of 18 years and yes all your symptoms are correct! I am now pregnant with my 5th and last child. I have placenta previa with 3rd degree adhesions which is stretching my bladder during the pregnancy. Over the past 18 years being able to hold my urine was impossible and painful…. now I have answers! The adhesions bonded to my placenta which is now resulting in a hysterectomy and bladder surgery. I’m in bed rest and I feel oddly happy that I finally have answers and my wonderful doctors will fix almost 20 years of bladder incompetence. All the accidents and embarrassing moments gone! And yes I have IBS as well. I honestly believe your health is determined on which doctor you have. I’ve been to 4 different doctors and the last one caught the adhesions. Also it can only be seen with a special sonogram machine as well as a special MRI. My doctor is Dr Titan at Baltimore University hospital in Baltimore Maryland. He is well basted in his field. My journey has been long but finally I will have my body under my control. He is determined to get rid of all my adhesions!

    Reply
  20. Karen says:

    Could I just add that this can happen with any scar. Mine started from my appendix scar at age 7 I am now 60 I had them cut away years ago as they stuck things together. They couldn’t do my smear test last year as they are covering the cervix entrance.
    Karen recently posted…ELECTRICAL SERVICES – DRBMy Profile

    Reply

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