adhesions after c-sections

by Nicola Morrison
(Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)


My name is Nicola and im 34 years old. I have had 3 c-sections, a sub-total hysterectomy, my cervix removed and a few key-hole surgeries and im now suffering from chronic abdominal pain caused by adhesions.
I have undergone countless trips to the Doctors and A+E and have also had a few stays in hospital. Im now constantly on pain killers and ive had to take some pretty heavy duty (ie: oxycontin, oxynorm, Oramorph) and im now currently taking Dihydrocodiene along with Amitryptiline which do help at first but then after a while i seem to get immune to them and then i have to try something different which is hard as im allergic to most NSAIDS and also Diclufenac and Tramadol. I am now (finally) on the books so to speak for an appointment with the Chronic Pain Team.

I understand very well that the more operations i have is only going to make things worse as its a very vicious circle and im lucky to have a very good support network to help out when it flares up as im usually in that much pain any movement just kills.

My husband and 3 children are all very good about it and very patient.

My GP is quite ignorant about my condition, she told me its mostly Psychosamatic and i should "toughen up". I have since changed GP.

My bowls and bladder have already been affected but my main worry is....what if something serious did go wrong ( i was admitted to hospital not long ago for suspected appendicitis) and i wasnt able to tell as the level of pain is really that high....

Dear Nicola Morrison,

I am truly and really so sorry to "hear" about your pain from adhesions. It is one of those conditions that exerts so much toil on people, yet poorly understood by some health care professionals. Any woman undergoing a pelvic surgery like cesarean section have an 80 percent chance of developing adhesions. A few of these ladies will unfortunately come down with debilitation pelvic pain and sometimes infertility and bowel obstruction due to the adhesions.

As you rightly pointed out, surgery may be necessary to treat adhesions, but even at that, it does not guarantee freedom from pain. It could worsen matters. But if you are having severe pains and your GP thinks it is due to adhesions after c-section, you might need to see some adhesiolysis specialist for re-assessment and advise.

I easily relate to your point on the front of doctors being able to identify any other cause of pain in your abdomen, instead of lumping it as "due to adhesions after c-sections". Anytime you have abdominal pain that will not go away with simple pain killers, or lasting more than an hour, or that does not feel like the current pain you have, you will need to go to your GP or to A&E. Mentioning that this pain is different may be helpful, though the onus lies with the attending physician to "think outside the box" and not conclude that the pain is due to adhesions after c-section.

We really hope that your current pain management regime will help and please keep us posted on how things are going with your adhesion management, and perhaps, others will benefit from such.

Thank you very much for taking your time to discuss your concerns here, and hope you find some help with this horrible pain soon.

Dr. O. Edema

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