CASE #1: ADHESIONS
FROM APPENDECTOMY: NEW CITY, NEW DOCTOR, NEW DIET
I am a 28 year old suffering from adhesions.
I am looking for any information that anyone
can give me regarding adhesions. I am scheduled
to go back to my doctor on Wednesday to
discuss having a second surgery. I would
like to try to avoid this as long as possible
because I know the more surgery I have the
more adhesions I am likely to get.
If you can enlighten me with any information
I would be thrilled because I am having
a hard time finding any info on adhesions!
Three days later, this lady provided me with some
more information about her situation:
Date: 97-09-25 13:11:11
Three years ago I had an appendectomy, my
last surgery for adhesions was from that
surgery. The adhesions had wrapped around
my small intestine causing a small bowel
obstruction. The doctor that did the surgery
did exploratory surgery because they weren't
sure what was causing the obstruction. Now,
I have adhesions on my colon from that surgery
which was April 15, 1997.
I went to my doctor yesterday and he said
he wants to wait as long as possible to
do any more surgery. I took him copies of
everything that I had found on the Internet,
including your web page. He looked through
it but didn't really seem to be interested
.I am now seeing a gastroenterologist.
If there is any more information that you
can give me I would really appreciate it.
I received this upbeat update six months later:
I have been seeing a doctor here in [NEW
CITY] and he was very familiar with adhesions.
He changed my medication and my diet and
I am feeling a lot better! Let me know if
you want to know more information on that.
With further enlightenment:
Date: 98-04-06 00:45:12
Dr. Wiseman: Hi! My doctor here has me on
Paxil, 10 mg. [paroxetine - an antidepressant
drug] I take 1 at bedtime. He said I could
continue taking the Vicodin [Hydrocodone
- narcotic analgesic plus acetaminophen
- analgesic/antipyretic] as needed but that
he wanted me to try to get off of it because
it is constipating. I have not had to take
it since I have been on the Paxil.
He also has me on a low residue diet, which
has seemed to help the most. My doctors
in [OLD CITY] had me on a high fiber diet
and also had me taking a stool softener
and 1 teaspoon of Per Diem at bedtime. The
doctor here said that all the fiber was
probably causing a lot of my pain because
when it gets in the intestines it expands
and when you have adhesions the intestines
don't have anywhere to expand. It makes
a lot of sense and I know that I definitely
feel a lot better. My husband says that
I am a totally different person. I know
that I am able to get out a do more than
I used to, or at least I feel like getting
out a doing more.
Well, that is all that they have me doing
different. It sure beats being on pain
medication and possibly having surgery,
which I still my have to do down the line
but I feel good for now. Thank you so much
for all your help! It also helps to know
that there are other people out there with
the same problem and that I'm not the only
CASE #2: "SPONTANEOUS"
This makes interesting reading. The first part turns
out to be quite typical.
I am a medical professional who has been
diagnosed with intestinal adhesions. I have
had one episode of obstruction so far and
otherwise simply live with a feeling of
"tightness" and discomfort under
the ribcage. I have had NO previous surgery
and so these suspected "adhesions"
are spontaneous, possible due to stress,
shallow breathing etc. Is there any information
available on allopathic medical treatments,
or alternative medical remedies for dealing
with this problem in a non-invasive way?
My surgeon of course want to do major surgery
and I am not ready for that. Any help would
be greatly appreciated.
A little over a month later I received this update:
Surgeon initially thought I had "adhesions"
and wanted to do a major surgery with bowel
resection etc. My symptoms came on secondary
to stress which should be differentiated
from any other people who have actual documented
adhesions secondary to invasive surgery.
In any case, "adhesions" or not,
being that I am a therapist by trade I took
matters into my own hands. I started doing
major league stretching exercises to my
abdomen and ribs. I
stretched on the floor, bent over backwards,
and leaned sideways over chairs to stretch
my ribs. Incessantly, in the shower, and
every day. I also had a couple of chiropractic
It is now about 5 months later and I am
95% better. I may had had "adhesions"
but if I did, it was secondary to muscle
tightness due to stress and faulty shallow,
breathing and they got better. In any case,
I will not need any surgery and may never
even had adhesions. Moral of the story,
if you have THESE kind of spontaneous problems.
i.e. not surgery related. then don't be
talked into surgery so fast. I recommend
stretching, yoga and breathing for starters.
Maybe my experience will be useful to someone
out there and save them a surgery. PS I
went to 3 doctors. The surgeon said I had
adhesions, one gastroenterologist said I
was normal, and the other thought I may
have had some kind of a hernia. welcome
to modern medicine. Second moral of the
story. the patient usually knows what's
going on with his own body better than the
doctors. Follow your gut (sorry, couldn't
A sense of humor has obviously kept this lady going.
Sometimes when there is no other explanation, adhesions
are blamed. We will never know the answer, but the
stretching exercises seemed to have helped greatly
and to have averted major surgery. This was a nice
CASE #3: 28 YEARS and STILL
Three emails in which a number of themes appear -
loneliness, information, support. Here's a lady who
has 'stuck' with her adhesions and is still fighting.
She is an inspiration.
In 1970 I had a laparotomy done and about
5 days afterwards developed pain again.
which I was told was the result of adhesions.
I have suffered with this pain for 27 years;
and finally found a doctor who would listen
I had a laparoscopy done by him on August
1, 1997 with an adhesiolysis being done.
I had adhesions the full length (7 inches)
of the laparotomy incision which was complicated
by a layer of fat 4 inches across. The surgeon
used the Kleppinger scissors to free the
adhesions from the omentum. For 10 days
I felt like a new person!! But then I started
developing pain again and now he won't even
I don't really know what the purpose is
regarding e-mailing this address; but since
I know deep in my heart that I am definitely
suffering again from adhesions, I decided
to follow your suggestion in your article
I wish someone had told me that a product
such as [the ones being developed] could
have spared me all the pain I'm experiencing.
Unfortunately the patient is at the mercy
of the surgeon.
I've been suffering chronic pain for going
on 28 years now. I have been to the [Famous
Hospital] five times during that time period.
always feeling as though I had not been
heard. On August 1,1997 I underwent a laparoscopy
at which time my gynecological surgeon found
that I did indeed have adhesions. adhesions
from a laparotomy I had in February of 1970.
The adhesions were the full 7" length
of the incision and 2" each side of
the incision. for a total of 4".
[I was told that] there are a lot of doctors
out there who do not believe that adhesions
can cause a person a lot of pain. I have
also read on the Internet about this; and
after almost 28 years of constant pain and
my inability to get the help I needed, I
have to believe this.
In searching the Internet, I came across
personal sagas about other people not getting
help for their chronic pain caused by adhesions.
As I read through their cries for help,
I too realized that many were wishing that
there would be a support group for them
to vent their frustrations with the medical
community, to be validated by others with
the same problem, and to hopefully get information
that would give them the help they need
to be freed from chronic pain caused by
The Internet has helped me to understand
postsurgical abdominal adhesions and how
difficult it is to get help for people who
have this medical problem. There is a great
need out there for a product such as Sepragel
for those patients who undergo a laparoscopy.
The Internet says that there are millions
of people who develop adhesions after surgery.
There is also a great need for a support
group of some kind. Good luck in your efforts
to get some kind of support group set up!
Thank you very much for the information
that you e-mailed me. It was unexpected.
but it was very helpful!
[There is an] emotional side of my saga
in trying to find a doctor who would believe
that I was suffering. and NOT all the doctors
who DID NOT believe me and attributed my
complaints of pain to be "all in my
head," or caused by fibromyalgia, irritable
bowel syndrome, allergies, and the list
goes on and on. A lot of relationships have
also been ruined simply because I was unable
to be there because of the extreme pain
that I have been experiencing. Adhesions
DO CAUSE PAIN!! It has been a 28 year ordeal
for me and it is still not over. My faith
in doctors has been shattered. Sincerely
CASE #4: JAZZERCISE, DESPERATE
Again, some form of exercise has helped this desperate
but educated and dignified correspondent.
I had extensive surgery in July of 1996
during which 'over 100' adhesions were removed.
These adhesions were the apparent result
of a c-section in l988 and a tubal ligation
In 1996, I underwent a hysterectomy, which
I was told would increase the chances that
the bladder repairs they were making would
be successful. At this time, my bowel was
nicked. Subsequent repairs were made in
this area as well. To-Date, I have noticed
that I am in a downhill state. I am to the
point where I suffer from chronic heartburn.
I feel as though I am 'blown up like a balloon'
all the time, which also seems to impede
my ability to draw a deep breath. I feel
as though I am pregnant for a huge baby--all
day and all night. Neither my bowel nor
my bladder function normally or well. I
have had it!! Is
there any help, any hope. I tremble at the
thought of more surgery. It seems that every
time a member of the medical profession
gets their hands on me, I come away with
less and less.
Please let me know something. I need to
make an appointment soon with someone, but
Dear David, If you use this letter [please
make some corrections]. I do not wish to
appear uneducated as well as desperate.
Desperate I can live with. A side note:
In the past ten days, I have attended 6
Jazzercise classes and this appears to have
helped with the water retention problem.
Also, I do not feel so filled with gas.
CASE#5: DOCTOR WILLING to TRY
ADHESION BARRIERS BUT NEEDS MORE INFO
There are many doctors who accept the idea that adhesions
can cause problems and are willing to try adhesion
they need more information, as this patient relates:
First of all thanks so much for the quick
reply. I am a patient. I have been searching
for a surgeon that is willing to use a barrier.
I live in [REMOTE PLACE] and there is not
ONE here that have used any type of barriers
except Gore-Tex (which I do not wish to
use.). Most say they are willing to try
if they obtain the information; I really
would like to have my surgery by someone
that is very familiar with the procedure.
The details of my specific medical problem
is pretty straight forward. I had a surgery
in 1989 that resulted in abdominal adhesions,
in 1990 I had another surgery to remove
those adhesions. I was pain free for about
2 - 2 1/2 years, at that time my adhesions
grew back. At this time it is affecting
my intestines, they are "tacked"
to the lower left abdominal wall and it
is getting worse. I have been told that
the only way to help this is surgery and
at this point I am more than ready! My major
hurdle now is that I want to do it right
and take as many preventative measures that
I can this time. I know that there are no
guarantees, but the barriers sure do sound
like a better option than nothing at all
especially since this will be the third
...any information you can offer will be
greatly appreciated. Thanks Again
CASE #6: RELIEF FROM
LAPAROSCOPY including ADHESIOLYSIS
This email correspondent describes a typical case
of multiple surgeries and her dreadful anticipation
of how long the pain will last.
I am a 25 year old that has had a total
of 5 different abdominal surgeries. I had
a hernia repair, 3 laparoscopies, and 1
major uterus suspension. My last surgery
was in March 1997. It is now November and
I have been exercising for 3 months on a
regular basis. During the past 3 weeks I
have had increased abdominal pain. Different
types of pain and in different areas. I
have a continuous pain that stays on my
right side. Could all this be due to scar
tissue,? Would scar tissue just start to
develop pain and continue with the pain
nonstop? Please write me back if you think
that you may have some answers. Sincerely
My reply was as follows:
Subj: Re: adhesions
Date: 97-11-25 08:29:34 EST
Thank you for your email. Let me first emphasize
that I am not a medical doctor and cannot
give you specific medical advice. It is
entirely possible that your pain is due
to adhesions (scar tissue). However I must
point out that there are many other causes
of pain. I would strongly advise you to
visit your doctor who will examine you and
try to find the cause of your pain
Good luck, Sincerely, David Wiseman
Four months later, I received the following good
news. Note that the uterus suspension seemed to have
been too tight. This may have developed after surgery.
DW Since I have wrote you, I have had another
laparoscopy. During the laparoscopy the
Dr. found the my internal organs were covered
with adhesions. I had my surgery in December
last year. The Dr. said that the adhesions
had pulled my lower intestines up under
my ribs and that it was also smothering
my right ovary. The pain that I was having
on my right side was due to the uterus suspension
with the round ligament. The round ligament
was pulled so tight that there was no giving
therefore giving me such pain. Since the
surgery I feel great. The Dr. went in and
took out the right suture and left the left
side still suspended. He clipped and burned
away the adhesions and I feel very good.
I do have a history of endometriosis, but
right now it is in remission.
Endometriosis is the reason I have had so
many surgeries. I am now going off the medication
that I have been on for two years. I have
been taking Modicon 21 [oral contraceptive]
so that I do not have any periods. So far
I have been doing great. The reason why
I am going to stop taking it is because
my husband and I may try to get pregnant
in July - Aug. It is scary though because
I know the risks of endometriosis coming
back, fortunately they are making surgeries
easier nowadays. Thank you
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