Pelvic Adhesions occur when a band of scar tissue in the pelvic region causes two pieces of tissue to become stuck together. It can result from surgeries, pelvic infections, or endometriosis and may affect organs such as the bladder, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Pelvic Adhesions do not always present symptoms, but in some cases they can cause severe pain or affect fertility and reproductive function. Adhesion-Related Disorder (ARD) describes a condition in which Pelvic Adhesions cause symptoms and complications.
Pelvic surgeries such as Cesarean section and endometriosis surgery are among the most common causes of Pelvic Adhesions. Scar tissue is more likely to be left behind after open surgery than laparoscopic surgery, and having a higher number of surgical operations in your medical history corresponds with a higher likelihood of Pelvic Adhesions. People with endometriosis are at a higher risk of Pelvic Adhesions, as endometrial lesions can cause scarring. Adhesions may also be caused by infection, inflammation, or injury to tissue and organs in the pelvic region.
The majority of people with Pelvic Adhesions do not experience any symptoms. However, many patients suffer from Adhesion-Related Disorder (ARD), which can cause lasting symptoms including infertility, bowel and bladder obstruction, and chronic abdominal pain.
One in ten women has endometriosis, which causes lesions on pelvic tissue and organs that can develop into scar tissue. Pelvic Adhesions most commonly appear shortly following surgery for endometriosis or other pelvic health issues. Multiple surgeries or surgeries with larger incisions both contribute to the risk of ARD.
Pelvic Adhesions can be difficult to diagnose, as they do not show up on MRIs or ultrasound. The only definite way to diagnose adhesions is through laparoscopic surgery. Other tests such as blood tests, X-rays, or ultrasound may be used to eliminate other potential causes of ARD-like symptoms and determine whether diagnostic laparoscopy is necessary.
Pelvic Adhesions can be treated with medication, exercise, lifestyle changes, and pelvic floor physical therapy. However, while these approaches may relieve symptoms and improve quality of life, adhesions can only be removed through surgery. Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine offers excision surgery for full removal of lesions and scar tissue to offer long-term relief from ARD.
Pelvic surgery is associated with a higher risk of Pelvic Adhesions. The best way to avoid this risk is to have any surgical procedures performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon and opting for minimally invasive methods whenever possible.
If left untreated, Pelvic Adhesions can continue to cause lasting chronic pain over a long period, in some cases years. Adhesions which cause obstructions to the digestive system can cause severe constipation and long-term bladder and bowel issues. Unaddressed obstructions of the fallopian tubes may cause infertility.
The risk of Pelvic Adhesions is increased by endometriosis, not only because of endometrial lesions but also because endometriosis surgery may cause development of scar tissue. Serious pain symptoms are often caused by the presence of Pelvic Adhesions in conjunction with other disorders like endo or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Pelvic Adhesions occur when scarring causes tissue in the pelvic region to become stuck together in an unnatural way. Adhesions often cause no symptoms, but Adhesion-Related Disorder can involve symptoms such as chronic pain, infertility, and impaired bladder and bowel function. While non-surgical treatments can help with alleviating pain and other symptoms, the only definite way to diagnose and treat Pelvic Adhesions is through surgery.