ARE NOT ALONE
M. Wiseman, Ph.D., M.R.Pharm.S.
[This article was written in 1998 and we wish
to preserve its essence as originally conceived.
Accordingly, some information and links may be
out of date. Please consult updated information
located elsewhere on our website.]
Chronic pelvic pain and/or associated intestinal
disturbance are a major cause of misery for thousands
of patients. Often in constant pain, the patient
experiences loneliness, hopelessness, frustration
and desperation with thoughts of suicide. Family
and work relationships are strained to the limit.
Although ADHESIONS are often (but not always) the
cause of this pain, treatment for adhesions is not
performed either because the surgeon does not believe
that adhesions can cause the problem, or because lysis
of adhesions is considered too difficult or futile.
Adhesions are an almost inevitable outcome of surgery,
and the problems that they cause are widespread and
sometimes severe. It has been said by some that
adhesions are the single most common and costly problem
related to surgery, and yet most people have not even
heard the term. This lack of awareness means
that, excluding infertility, many doctors are unable
or unwilling to tackle the problems of adhesions,
many insurance companies are unwilling to pay for
treatment and many patients are left in misery.
This paper describes adhesions, their treatment and
their relationship to pain and bowel obstruction.
In addition, stories from patients are featured to
illustrate how adhesions (or suspected adhesions)
affect their daily lives and how they cope with a
A key lesson and source of comfort for patients with
this problem is that they are not alone and the importance
of mutual support among patients cannot be underestimated.
There are no easy answers as yet. In drawing
attention to the human side of this problem, we hope
to (begin to) educate patients and doctors about the
range of treatments available, be they of a medical,
surgical or psychological nature. In addition,
the establishment of a group to provide support and
information to adhesions sufferers is proposed.