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Why Do I Have Pain After C-Section?

If you are reading this article in search of an answer as to why you are continuing to experience pain months or even years after you’ve had a C-section, you are not alone. Post-C-section pain is not uncommon and can send women on a seemingly endless quest for relief.

Jan Kriebs, a certified nurse midwife at the University of Maryland Medical Center, says “Women really need to understand that a C-section is major abdominal surgery.” According to WebMD, the procedure, which typically lasts three to four hours including pre- and post-op, involves making an incision through the skin, abdomen, muscle, and then into the uterus. Some experts believe that the prevalence of C-sections — one in three American women have the procedure — causes many to disregard the fact that it has the same risk of complications as other major surgeries.

One of those complications is the formation of internal scars, called adhesions. They begin to form within the body as soon as the post-surgical healing process begins. The fact is most patients develop adhesions after pelvic surgery, including C-section. A study in the journal Digestive Surgery showed that 55% to 100% of women develop adhesions after pelvic surgery. In some cases, the adhesions do not cause symptoms, and patients never even know that they have them. For others, adhesions are the source of significant pain and dysfunction, affecting their quality of life.

Adhesions that form as the body heals from a C-section can cause an uncomfortable pulling sensation or pain. When found in the reproductive tract, they can cause chronic pelvic or intercourse pain as they pull on delicate tissues and structures with a strength approaching 2,000 pounds per square inch. When post-C-section adhesions form in the bowels, they can cause abdominal pain and digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Regardless of where they form, post-C-section adhesions can pull on and bind structures together with strong glue-like bonds that can last a lifetime. Unless these post-surgical adhesions are addressed, a woman will likely continue to experience pain and dysfunction. The treatment options for C-section-related adhesions and pain include:

  • manual physical therapy, the Wurn Technique, to decrease adhesions without surgery
  • lysis of adhesions, a procedure in which the surgeon cuts or burns adhesions

Unfortunately, surgery to remove adhesions almost always leads to more adhesions as the body heals from the latest procedure, leaving patients trapped in a vicious cycle of surgery-adhesions-surgery.

If you are experiencing chronic pain as a result of a C-section, we encourage you to schedule a free phone consultation with an expert therapist to learn more about the Wurn Technique and whether we can help you.


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