As denoted by the word “adhesion”, it is a group of scar tissue that get connected from the two parts of your tissues that are generally not found attached together. The adhesions may look like slim sheets of tissues parallel to a plastic wrap or as   substantial fibrous groups.

Responding to the repairing mechanism of the body, these tissues may get generated because of their disturbances like infection, trauma, radiation or a surgery.  Though adhesions have the tendency of developing anywhere yet the most common places are the heart, your pelvic area or the stomach.

Abdominal adhesions

They are the most common tricky situations after a surgery.  The abdominal adhesions may happen to nearly 90% of people after undergoing pelvic or abdominal surgery. Nearly 10% of persons who never ever have undergone surgery, also get abdominal adhesions.

Mostly, adhesions do not come with any kind of pain.  But some adults may confront up to 60 percent obstructions in their bowels and hence are believed to be causing chronic pelvic pain.

Adhesions generally start developing within the initial days after undergoing surgery.  But they may not begin showing symptoms for several months, or even a few years. As the scar tissues start limiting the small intestines motion, they make it difficult the progressive movement of food via the digestive system resulting in blockage of the bowels.

In severe cases, the adhesions may generate fibrous groups in the vicinity of a section of an intestine limiting the flow of blood, and thus, eventually death of tissue.

Pelvic adhesions

The pelvic adhesions may affect the pelvis parts, like the bladder, Fallopian tubes, ovaries or the uterus generally after undergoing a surgery. Generally, a sexually transmitted disease (STI) may develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causing infection, like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, that results in adhesions in the Fallopian tubes.

We all know that a female’s egg move through the Fallopian tubes to destine into the uterus for the purpose of reproduction. The Fallopian adhesions may cause obstruction to this process and may result in infertility and the higher chances of developing ectopic pregnancy, wherein a fetus starts developing in the Fallopian tubes or elsewhere outside the uterus.

Heart adhesions

The scar tissue may get generated in the membranes surrounding the pericardial sac (heart) and limiting the smooth functioning of your heart. The viruses like rheumatic fever may cause generation of adhesions around the valves of the heart and may result in reduced efficiency of your heart.

Adhesions Causes

Adhesions may get generated in reaction to the body’s effort of repairing itself. This usual reaction happens after radiation, infection, trauma or a surgery. The repairing cells in your body are not able to differentiate between limbs with another. While undergoing the process of repair, an organ or its part may come in contact with another part or an organ and start connecting the two surfaces of the scar tissue.

Adhesions Symptoms

Usually, adhesions neither get diagnosed nor cause or show any symptoms.  However, the doctors link symptoms and signs of adhesions with the issues they cause instead of an adhesion as such.

The result is that the people come up with complaints depending on where the adhesion has occurred and the disruption it is causing.

Usually, adhesions inflict pain when the nerves within the adhesion-ridden-organ or the adhesion itself get pulled.

When adhesions happen above your liver, you may experience pain while breathing deeply.

Adhesions within the intestines may ache while stretching or doing some kind of exercise.

If your uterus or vagina is afflicted with adhesions, they cause pain while copulating with your partner or anyone else.

You may experience chest pain because of pericardial adhesions.

While talking about adhesions and pain, it is imperative to know that not all adhesions inflict pain and all the pains you experience are not because of adhesions.

Blockage in the intestines (small bowel obstacle) may happen because of adhesions that may require an emergency surgery.

At times, the adhesions may generate cramping pain in the stomach, which may last for seconds or minutes, often aggravates in case you eat food, by increasing the movement of your intestines.

With the beginning of the pain, you may also throw up, which may ease the pain.

You may experience increasingly bloated and your belly may become tender. You may also get to hear chiming sounds over your belly, coupled with loose stool and gas.

Fever is generally at low ebb.

These blockages in the intestines may get corrected on their own.  Nonetheless, you are advised to consult your doctor.

In case the blockage aggravates, they may cause the following conditions:

  • Your body temperature may increase
  • Your bowels may get more stretched
  • The movements of the bowels and gas may stop
  • Your pain may get consistent and more severe
  • The bowel sounds may vanish
  • Your stomach may get swollen

With more aggravation, the walls around your intestines may get torn and spread infection in the abdominal cavity with bowel materials.

Seeking medical aid

Consult your doctor if you happen to have:

  • Unexplained fever
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Abdominal pain

In case of having a medical illness or you have undergone a surgery in the past, discuss these conditions and recovery with your doctor.

In case of a chest pain, straightaway visit an emergency in a nearby hospital.

Tests and examinations

Doctors normally are able to identify adhesions while doing a surgical operation, like laparoscopy wherein the internal abdominal organs are viewed through a small camera. In case they locate adhesions, doctors generally try releasing them while performing the same surgery.

The examinations like CT scan, X-ray and blood tests help in ascertaining the degree of issues related to adhesions.  Nonetheless, the identification of adhesions generally happens while performing a surgery. For an instance, blockage in the bowels can be ascertained, but the adhesion is the reason can be ascertained while performing a surgery.

Treatment of adhesions

The treatment of adhesions is based on the place, their generation and the issues they are causing. The adhesions have the tendency of improving without the requirement of a surgery. Consequently, if a surgery is not warranted, the treating doctor may try to suppress the symptoms rather than performing a surgery.


For treating abdominal adhesions, laparoscopy and laparotomy are two usual surgical methods.

While performing laparoscopy, the doctor introduces a small camera into the abdominal cavity by making an incision in your skin for viewing and confirming the existence of adhesions. The adhesions are then are severed and set free. The procedure is known as adhesiolysis.

During laparotomy, a bigger incision is done to view the adhesions straightaway for treating them.  The method  differs based on precise conditions and circumstances.

Follow-up steps

In case you have a medical history of any kind of illness or have undergone surgery, you are advised to discuss this with your doctor. They may have an impact on your condition or recovery.


For minimizing the chances of formations of adhesions during surgery, many steps are needed to be taken, like:

  • Reducing the time of operation
  • Maintaining the tissues soaked
  • Tackling and handling of organs or tissues softly
  • Using gloves that are free of starch or latex

The methods of surgery have advanced and many surgical items have been developed in an attempt of preventing adhesions during surgery. At times, filming sheets are used and placed between the body surfaces or organs while performing large and open surgical methods.

Point to ponder

Adhesions that require severing with surgery generally have the tendency of developing again as the surgery itself is the reason of causing adhesions.

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