Are abdominal exercises ok?

From: Andre (
Sat Aug 30 22:27:02 2008


When I was 11 years old I had abdominal surgery to remove my appendix, because it had burst. Everything was fine until I was in high school. During high school I started to experience slight tension in my stomach from time-to-time. This tension seemed random at first, but over time, I thought I noticed it get worse after doing stomach crunches (I enjoyed lifting weights when I was in high school). Towards the end of high school and into college, this tension became more frequent and I started to wonder whether I was using more weight than my abdomen could handle when doing crunches. This didn't seem to make much sense, because I was clearly strong enough to do the crunches. To make a long story short, I eventually (age 23) came to realize that this tension was due to abdominal adhesions after experiencing a severe small bowel obstruction requiring surgery.

After the surgery, my surgeon (a cardiothoracic surgeon about to retire) said he was really surprised by how many adhesions were present, but he felt confidant that he had removed them all. After recovering from the surgery, the tension in my stomach was virtually gone, however; I have had very mild diarrhea ever since (hasn't gotten worse or better). I am now 29, and over the years I have sensed a slight tension return to my stomach. Ever since my last operation, I have refrained from doing any abdominal exercises; because I worry they made my adhesions worse. I find it hard to believe that I required surgery 12 years after my first operation, if my abdominal strength training had nothing to do with my condition. I would think the adhesions would have become apparent much earlier if they were only caused by the surgery (without subsequent growth due to my exercises). I know my wife (and I for that matter) would like it if I could return to doing stomach crunches. My six pack is nonexistent anymore. Does anyone know if such exercises are indeed an irritant for adhesions? I absolutely won't do any stomach exercises if they may at all increase my likelihood of experiencing what I went through during my small bowel obstruction experience. That was ridiculously awful for my wife and I! She thought I was dieing, and I felt like I was dieing, for about 24 hours before they forced an NG tube into me.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and provide your insight. Sorry for the graphic detail at the end, I'm simply trying to express my deep fear of those lurking spider webs in my abdomen.


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