International Adhesions Society





A Patient's Guide to Adhesions & Related Pain (part 2)


Date: 98-03-25

This e-mail I am hoping against all hope gets to Dr. David Wiseman. I am a 38 year old woman. Here is a little about my history:

1976--Appendix Surgery
1978--Perforated Ulcer Surgery
1981--C-Section Surgery
1981--Bowel Obstruction Surgery
1982--Kidney Stone Surgery
1984--Gallbladder Surgery
1985--C-Section Surgery
1986--Perforated Ulcer Surgery (Again)
1986--Ovarian Cyst Surgery
1987--Gastric Resection Surgery
1987--Hysterectomy Surgery
1989--Bowel Obstruction Surgery
1992--Bowel Obstruction Surgery

I am now in Pain all the time and have massive amounts of ADHESIONS and all the doctors tell me there is NOTHING that can be done. The doctors tell me to chew my food better and to eat less often. I weigh 125 pounds and am in pain all the time. I hate to eat that is the worst pain of all. My husband and two children would like their mom and wife to be in some kind of a comfort zone. can you PLEASE help me. I am  getting at my wits end. I am still young and would like to be able to live my life. My work, my family and I am all suffering. PLEASE

Unfortunately, this letter is typical of the many email messages I receive from patients who are desperate to be relieved of their pain and suffering due to ADHESIONS.  Another typical story was posted a while ago on one of the many message boards around the Internet.

Subj: ADHESIONS/pelvic pain
Date: 96-11-04

I am about to face my fourth surgery for pelvic ADHESIONS. The first one, 9 years ago was a clean-up laparotomy for endometriosis. This was followed by continued pain and an eventual complete hysterectomy 3 years ago. Then pain free for a few months. Then back to the same old pain. Another surgery 11 months later for severe ADHESIONS. (Bladder adhered to stomach wall, colon, bowel, etc. all stuck together-apparently quite a mess) That was 13 months ago and now after severe pain has returned a CT Scan has revealed a cyst (or something) the size of a softball. I am due to have surgery in a few weeks to remove it. Has anyone else had similar problems? What can be done to prevent these ADHESIONS from re-occurring? My body can not continue to have surgery year after year…..If anyone has any suggestions please e-mail me or post here on this board. Thanks.

Permeating my email as well as message board postings are feelings of desperation:

"I am at the end of my rope…...I am tired of living my life in pain"

"I almost don't want to bother with additional tests; there seems to be no hope for me and I am at the end of my rope, barely hanging on by a thread. I need HELP - is there ANYTHING I can do to have a life that has quality?? How can I get relief? PLEASE - any info you can give me would be extremely valuable. I need to know that I don't have to live the rest of my life this way. thank you."

and sometimes suicide:

"For the suicidal thoughts I have thought of them but have come to realize that suicide is not the escape"

Patients often report that they are told that their pain is a figment of the imagination:

"I have been told I'm a wimp, it's all in my head"

"Remember doctors are taught A+B=C. Any diversion from this is in 'the patients head' "

Thoughts about the medical profession range from quiet resignation:

 "There are no doctors who can really help me."

to cynicism:

"It seems that every time a member of the medical profession gets their hands on me, I come away with less and less"

to open hostility and mistrust:

"My doctor would rather have me suffer in pain. Most doctors don't understand pain, and refuse to treat it. Why must we suffer? Pain should be treated with strong pain medication. I have spent far too much time laying on heating pads, in bed, suffering excruciating pain. Why should people suffering in pain go to Jack Kervorkian to end their pain forever. Doctors are irresponsible, and insensitive."

especially towards male doctors:

"Find a female GYN with a brain who will understand what you mean when you say 'pain'. If men can't feel it -- they don't 'get it'."

Many report the human cost of their ADHESIONS or suspected ADHESIONS:

"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."

"My Husband is so understanding that I feel guilty often for depriving him of intimate times (because of pain). It is so hard on him because he knows that if there is any activity below the belly button and above the knees that it will usually make me bed ridden the following day in pain."

The frustration with the lack of a treatment for adhesions and the agony of their affliction is tempered by the camaraderie of fellow sufferers, as in this message board posting:

"Subj: Scar tissue and adhesions
Date: 97-04-07

I have been suffering from this for 10 years now and I am happy that I am not alone (well not happy but you know!) I have been put through the mill with the testing and dr's and all the famous diagnosis' and I still have not found a solution. Why is this? They can put an artificial heart into a human but they can't get rid of ADHESIONS! Pain meds are taking there toll on me and I still have not found any relief. If anyone can offer any advise for me please do so."

This brings us to the reason for this article:

  • What treatments are currently available?
  • Is there something more we can do for ADHESIONS sufferers?

Before we attempt to answer these questions, let's make sure we understand something about ADHESIONS.


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