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Chronic Pain Due to Abdominal Adhesions

The following questions will be answered: What are Abdominal Adhesions? What are the symptoms of Abdominal Adhesions? How are Abdominal Adhesions Diagnosed? How are Abdominal Adhesions Treated?

 What are Abdominal Adhesions?  Abdominal Adhesions are not unusual following surgery, Pelvic Infection, abdominal trauma, and Endometriosis.  Abdominal Adhesions are scar tissue that act as glue between the organs such as the intestines and the abdominal wall.  Adhesions may also adhere to organs such as the liver or stomach.  The may also cause a tangle of the small intestine and a knot of scar tissue within the abdominal or pelvic cavity. 

What are the symptoms of Abdominal Adhesions?  Some people may never experience symptoms of Abdominal Adhesions while others suffer greatly from their presence.  Some describe the pain as “pulling” or “stretching.”  I personally describe it as suffering.  It feels as if someone has opened my belly, reached in, and is squeezing my intestines.  Intestinal Adhesions may also cause bowel obstructions.  This includes complete obstruction, partial and intermittent obstructions as well as intestinal ileus.  Obstructions are terribly painful and will almost always require immediate medical attention.

How are Abdominal Adhesions Diagnosed?  The only way to surely diagnose the presence of Adhesions is to surgically “look” for them.  Some physicians may diagnose via x-ray or patient history of prior abdominal/pelvic surgery or patient description of pain.

How are Abdominal Adhesions Treated?  Adhesiolysis is a surgical procedure that removes Adhesions, but unfortunately, the adhesions almost always reappear as they are scar tissue.  This reformation can take place in as little as 24 hours.  Some people find relief for months and even years through surgery.  Others may at least reduce the number of pain episodes per month.  Surgery may be preformed laparoscopically or laparotomy (open-see picture below).

Other treatments besides surgery include pain medications, anxiolytics, and alkaloids such as Donnatal liquid.  Some patients may find that stool softeners, laxatives, and natural remedies keep their stool very soft and able to navigate even the narrowest passages allowed by the tangle of scar tissue on the intestines.  Having Abdominal Adhesions means that sufferers need a good relationship with a physician who is understanding of this diagnosis.  Often a combination of pain relief measures, dietary changes, and medication regimen can keep the symptoms under control.  If there are any others out there who may have found relief through methods not mentioned here, please share it on this blog.

 

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