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Abdominal Adhesions : Symptoms, Treatment

Abdominal adhesions are fibrous scar tissue bands that form on the abdomen's organs. They can cause organs to stick together or to the abdominal wall.

Surgery is the most common cause of abdominal adhesions. The surgical team's abdominal organs are temporarily displaced from their regular places. This can cause excessive scar tissue growth in some persons.

Peritonitis, an infection that has spread to the membrane that protects the abdominal organs, can also cause adhesions. Endometriosis is another rare cause. Tissue that normally lines just the uterus begins to grow in other regions of the body, including the abdomen.

Adhesions do not create health problems in the majority of patients. However, in a tiny percentage of persons with adhesions, the fibrous bands of scar tissue totally or partially block the intestines. A bowel obstruction is a medical term for this type of blockage.

Adhesion-affected areas of the gut might get clogged and unblocked repeatedly, causing symptoms to come and go.

A section of the bowel bends firmly around a band of adhesions on rare occasions. This causes "strangulation," in which the normal blood supply to the twisted gut is cut off, and that part of the bowel begins to die. When this happens, the person must be taken to the hospital right away.

In people who have never had abdominal surgery, adhesions are uncommon. Adhesions are common in persons who have had repeated abdominal surgery.


Abdominal adhesions do not cause any symptoms in the majority of patients. Intermittent bouts of crampy stomach pain can be caused by adhesions that partially block the gut.

The following symptoms can be caused by a more significant intestinal obstruction:

Severe, crampy abdominal pain
Nausea and vomiting
Swelling of the abdomen (abdominal distension)
Inability to expel gas and infrequent or absent bowel motions
Dehydration symptoms include infrequent urination, dry skin, a rapid heart rate, a dry mouth and tongue, excessive thirst, and low blood pressure.

When the bowel is strangulated, people experience acute stomach discomfort that might be crampy or persistent. When the abdomen is lightly touched, it feels swollen and painful. Symptoms of systemic (whole-body) illness, such as fever, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure, are common in those who have a strangulated bowel.


Your doctor will examine you thoroughly, with a focus on your abdomen. He or she will also check your rectum. A pelvic exam will be performed on you if you are a woman. Your doctor will prescribe blood tests, chest and abdomen X-rays, and, in some cases, an abdominal CT scan to help confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis of suspected intestinal obstruction or strangulation in certain persons can only be established through abdominal surgery.

Expected Timeframe to get better

Unless the patient gets a surgical procedure called adhesion lysis, abdominal adhesions are permanent. A surgeon utilizes devices to cut the fibres that have created adhesions and remove as much scar tissue as possible during this procedure.


You won't be able to avoid adhesions in any way. This is one of the reasons why doctors only prescribe abdominal surgery when required. If you're having abdominal surgery, your surgeon will use a delicate surgical technique and powder-free gloves to reduce the possibility of adhesions.


Complete blockages of the small bowel caused by adhesions frequently necessitate surgery. Surgery may be postponed for 12 to 24 hours in cases of partial or total bowel obstruction without severe symptoms to allow a dehydrated patient to obtain fluids intravenously (via a vein) and maybe avoid surgery. To avoid further bloating and reduce pain and nausea, a short suction tube that goes through the nose and into the stomach can be utilized. When adhesions strangle the intestine, emergency abdominal surgery is required to remove the adhesions and restore blood flow to the intestines.

When Should You Go To The Hospital?

If you have severe stomach pain, especially if you have a fever, nausea and vomiting, or infrequent bowel movements, call your doctor.


Although abdominal adhesions can be treated, they can be a persistent issue. The condition may recur because surgery is both the source and the therapy. Adhesions tend to grow again and establish a new blockage after surgery to remove an intestinal obstruction caused by adhesions.


No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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