Abdominal adhesions are tough, inflexible bands of scar tissue that form in your abdomen or upper intestinal tract. They attach abdominal organs to each other and to your abdominal wall, and they’re one of the most common complications of abdominal surgery.

In fact, up to 93% of people who have had abdominal surgery get adhesions. Around 10% of people get adhesions even if they’ve never had surgery, usually due to inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease.

Not all adhesions cause problems. But they can be uncomfortable, painful, and even lead to life-threatening complications like bowel obstruction.

If you’ve had abdominal surgery and you’re experiencing abdominal symptoms long after you healed, don’t ignore them. Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and our team at Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, located in Peoria, Arizona, specialize in diagnosing and treating problematic adhesions.

Signs you could have abdominal adhesions

Scar tissue is part of your body’s natural healing process. When you heal from an injury or surgery, the scar tissue that grows is much thicker than the original tissue, and it can restrict movement within your abdomen.

Adhesions often start forming within a few days of abdominal surgery, and they may get worse over time. While many adhesions don’t cause noticeable symptoms, others can cause symptoms like:

1. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of adhesions. The adhesions connect organs that would usually move freely, and this connection can twist or pull your organs when you move. Depending on the severity of your adhesions, the pain can be very intense.

2. Bloating

Adhesions that form around or on your intestines can interfere with your digestive system. The adhesions may limit your ability to pass gas, creating abdominal cramps, uncomfortable gas pains, and abdominal bloating.

3. Constipation

Constipation is another sign of adhesions in your digestive system. If you’re constipated, you may have fewer bowel movements than usual and find that stools are difficult or painful to pass. Adhesions that cause constipation could indicate bowel obstruction.

4. Nausea and vomiting

In severe cases, adhesions can trigger nausea and vomiting. Abdominal pain may be so severe that it makes you nauseous. These symptoms are also signs of bowel obstruction.

Understand that bloating, constipation, nausea, and vomiting are all signs of significant adhesions. Any of these symptoms could indicate intestinal obstruction, which requires prompt medical care.

Your treatment options for problematic adhesions

Adhesions are common, and you shouldn’t ignore the pain. If you have adhesions that are painful or obstructing your intestines, surgery may be a good option to release the scar tissue and relieve your symptoms.

Dr. Alt and Dr. Prebil use robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgery to separate the bands of scar tissue affecting your abdominal organs. Surgery can improve the pain from abdominal adhesions, as well as lower your risk of more serious complications that come with bowel obstruction.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of abdominal adhesions and find out if surgery is right for you, book an appointment with our team. Call our Peoria, Arizona, office at 623-227-2581 or send us a message online now.

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