They are bands of scar tissue that form internally within the abdomen.They can attach themselves to anything and they cause very severe pain.They can also cause whatever organ they are attached to to malfunction and can cause bowel obstructions.
Could adhesions cause temporary impingement on the bowel causing severe pain and constipation that spontaneously goes away in 1-2 days? Previous surgeries include hysterectomy and abdominal radiation for uterine cancer 40+ years ago, gallbladder surgery 30+ years ago and colon resection for cancer 10 years ago.
Yes! Particularly if the adhesions are located on a loop of small bowel or sigmoid colon. These structures are not stationary in your abdomen and move freely about. Because of that movement, a loop of bowel can get twisted around scar tissue and cut it off just like a kink in a hose. The intestines can unkink just as quickly as they kinked closed.
Radiation anywhere near the abdomen is notorious for causing adhesions, and your additional surgeries just make the likelihood of bowel obstruction that much higher. Because more surgery can cause more adhesions to form, most surgeons are reluctant to go in and release them unless you have a life-threatening obstruction. Many times they'll admit you to the hospital, keep you hydrated with IV fluids and maybe TPN nutrition and wait it out. If vomiting presents, they'll drop in an NG tube. NOT fun.
If the obstruction is in the colon, occasionally a gastro doc can straighten it out via colonoscopy, but that won't stop it from happening again.
If you have chronic symptoms and the pain and nausea are wrecking your life, you'll need a pain specialist and a pain psychologist to help you manage the symptoms. There is really no quick surgical fix in some patients.
Hi Nancy - your background of surgeries sounds similar to mine. Colon resection, hysterectomy, plus appendicitis when I was a kid. All that plus a serious intestinal infection about 15 years. (pseudomembranous colitis or c-diff). Over the years I've learned to live with the discomfort and constant worry and fear. I should go to the gastro doctor and get a colonoscopy - it's been about 5 years. But I dread it, and always afraid he will find something bad.
Hope you are feeling well this Memorial Day? Husband and I are going to the cemetery to leave flowers on graves of his parents and brother. Best wishes for good health!
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