add this to my ever growing list of illness and pain ohhhh joy

Endometriosis Adhesions

It is very common for abdominal adhesions to form in women who suffer from endometriosis.  This can happen either when two deposits of endometriosis touch in the abdomen and become fused and cause adhesions.They can also form because of scar tissue following surgery for endometriosis.

What are adhesions?

Adhesions are scar tissue resulting from infection, inflammation, trauma, or surgery occurring anywhere in the body.

They are tiny but very strong collagen fibres that form naturally as the first step in healing. In fact, they can form anywhere in the body that healing occurs.

What causes adhesions?

There are six common causes of adhesion formation:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chronic poor posture

What does pain caused by adhesions feel like?

Most women will notice the pull of adhesions as tightness, decreased range of motion, or pulls in specific areas of the abdomen. Initially this may be accompanied by a dull pain or ache in these areas that continues or increases over time.

Adhesions create problems in the body when they:

  • Put pressure on pain-sensitive tissues or other structures
  • Pull on nerves causing pain
  • Glue structures that should be mobile, causing dysfunction such as poor digestion, or even infertility
  • When nerves or pain-sensitive structures become bound by adhesions, the result is pain.
  • Dysfunction occurs when adhered organs and muscles become inefficient, ineffective, or  unable to properly do the job for which they were designed.

endometriosis abdominal adhesions

The obvious problem for women with endometriosis is the need to have surgery to treat the disease and remove endo deposits and implants, but the actual surgery itself can cause more adhesions. A no-win situation.

Fortunately surgical techniques are improving to reduce the development of more adhesions being caused by any initial surgery.

How are adhesions treated?

The usual medical solution to post-surgical adhesions is to first give drug treatment  to decrease inflammation, ease the pain, or improve function.

If drugs fail to adequately address the symptoms caused by adhesions  the physician may suggest a “second look” surgery to help determine the exact cause of the pain.

If the surgeon finds more adhesions, he or she would generally cut or burn the ones which are accessible. However, due to the invasiveness of yet another surgery, additional adhesions generally form following the surgery.

Clinical studies have shown that adhesions occur in roughly 90% of patients after abdominal surgery. These studies show that surgery can develop into small-bowel obstruction, infertility, chronic abdominal and pelvic pain, and difficult re-operative surgery are the  most common consequences of adhesions.

Despite the skill of the surgeon, it is very difficult to perform surgery without creating more adhesions. So this becomes a vicious circle. Therefore, when women with endometriosis have continued surgeries to remove endometriosis, they are at increased risk of developing yet further scarring and adhesions.

As mentioned above, new surgical techniques are being developed to reduce adhesions.  Read more here

Adhesions and infertility

Adhesions are like a powerful glue, wherever they form. When they form within the delicate female reproductive structures, they can glue down structures, reducing their ability to function. Adhesions are a major cause of female infertility, and implicated as a cause of many cases of unexplained fertility.

Alternative treatment

New alternatives to surgery has been developed called Manual Physical Therapy.  One such organisation is Clear Passage Therapy – who have, over 20 years developed their own form of manual physical therapy called the ‘Wurn Technique’ – named after the doctor who originally developed the technique.

The organisation has undertaken extensive research and had achieved excellent results for many patients, including many women who have undergone therapy for adhesions related to endometriosis.

They can be found at their website at:

Dietary help

Proteolytic enzymes – (or proteases) – and the relationship to scar tissue

The most important thing that systemic proteolytic enzymes do is to break down excess fibrin in your circulatory system and in other connective tissue. These enzymes bring nutrients and oxygen-rich blood that remove the metabolic waste produced by inflammation and excess fibrin.

What is fibrin?

Fibrin is produced in the body as a chemical product to help stop bleeding and is used in part of the healing process following injury or surgery.

It has a useful purpose initially in the role of healing, however if the area in question is slow to heal, an excess of fibrin will appear as clumps of scar tissue in the site of the wound, injury or at the surgical site. Once this happens, an acute condition becomes chronic.

For women with endometriosis this action can cause a severe excess of fibrin in the body caused by bleeding implants, scar tissue and post-operative scarring as well.

Source: Extract from the ‘A to Z– Diet & Nutrition Advice for Endometriosis’which can be downloaded HERE

A free 30 page E-book providing terms and definitions regarding nutrition and digestion – plus snippets of dietary advice which relate to endometriosis.

You can take dietary supplements of Proteolytic enzymes. One of these is Serrapapetase – This enzyme is naturally processed and was discovered in the silkworm intestine. Studies reveal powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Serrapeptase digests non-living tissue, blood clots, cysts, arterial plaque and inflammation in all forms. Some women with endometriosis are starting to use serrapeptase and similar enzymes to help with the pain and adhesions caused by the disease with good success.

what to saY

As a follow-up to last week’s piece, “What Those with Chronic Pain or Illness DON’T Want to Hear,” I thought it might be helpful to let others know what we wish they would say to us.“You look so good, but how are you really feeling?”

It’s hard for us to respond to comments like, “You look so good” (or the always dreaded, “But you don’t look sick”) because we know that you’re just trying to be nice. If we respond truthfully with, “Thanks, but I feel awful,” you might be embarrassed or think we’re being ungrateful. It would be such a relief to be asked a question that goes to the heart of the matter: “How are you really feeling?”

“I’m going to the grocery store, can I pick anything up for you?”

This is a helpful question, as opposed to, “Call me if there’s anything I can do” (from last week’s piece). As I said there, we’re unlikely to respond to such an open-ended offer, meaning we won’t call and say, “Can you go to the grocery store and get me some dish soap?” We don’t want to make you go somewhere that you aren’t otherwise going. But if you let us know that you’re already going to the store, that’s a different matter entirely

In fact, the more specific your offer of help, the better. For example, we’d love to hear an offer to do one of those life tasks that back up for us because we’re not well enough to get to it: take our car for an oil change (we’ll pay for it!); weed in our garden for a bit; do a load of laundry; even clean our refrigerator.

“It must be hard to be sick and in pain all the time,” or “Not being able to work must be so frustrating,” or “I imagine it’s a daily grind to have to pace yourself so carefully.”

These comments are examples of “active listening,” a child raising technique I learned when my two kids were young. I wasn’t always as skillful at it as I wanted to be, but the idea is to let your kids know you’ve really heard their concerns by feeding back to them, in your own words, what they’ve said.

For example, if your daughter is afraid of the dark, instead of trying to talk her out of how she’s feeling by saying, “There’s no reason to be afraid of the dark,” or “You’re too old to be afraid of the dark,” you feed back her feelings to her by saying, “The dark is scary to you.” When you actively listen in this way, children feel heard and validated. This makes it easier for them to overcome a fear because they know you’re taking their concern seriously and that you’re trying to understand it from their point of view. We who are chronically ill want to feel heard and validated. We want to know that you understand how we feel. In fact, everybody—sick or not—wants to know that others understand them!

To “active listen,” put yourself in another’s shoes and think about how you’d feel if you were in his or her circumstances. Then feed those feelings back by saying, for example, “You must feel sad and disappointed that you can’t go to the party.” I hope all of you have experienced the relief that comes from feeling deeply listened to.

“How are you holding up? Do we need to stop visiting so you can rest?”

What a blessing it would be to hear a visitor offer this “prompt.” I’ve lost count of the number of times my body was telling me to lie down, but I didn’t excuse myself. Even if we’re wilting away or are in bad pain, most of us are unlikely to bring it up ourselves because we don’t want to let you down. But if we know you’re aware of and sensitive to our limitations, we’ll respond honestly.

“I miss going out to lunch together,” or “I miss going to the movies with you,” or “I miss going to the mall together.”

Speaking personally, I want to hear a heartfelt expression of the way you feel about how things have changed for us. It lets me know that you value our relationship.

“Don’t feel bad if you have to cancel our plans at the last minute. I’ll understand.”

What a relief this would be to hear! I used to force myself to keep commitments even if I was too sick to leave the house. Invariably, it led to a bad “crash.” I’m much better now about cancelling plans if I have to, but I still feel bad about it unless those plans were made with one of my “it’s okay to cancel” friends. I treasure them.

“Would you like to hear about this crazy adventure I had yesterday?”

You bet I would! Some friends don’t want to tell me about what they’re up to, especially if it’s something exciting. They think that talking about their lives will make me feel bad since I’m so limited in what I can do. But hearing about another’s adventure makes me feel connected to the world and adds real-life adventure to what I often just have to get off the TV.

“I hope you’re as well as possible.”

To those of us living day-to-day with health challenges, this comment is so spot-on that many of us just use the initials AWAP when communicating with each other, as in, “I hope you’re AWAP.” Reflecting on this, wouldn’t it be a compassionate comment to make to anyone? Everybody has his or her share of stresses and sorrows—in sickness and in health. And so, my wish for everyone reading this piece is that you’re AWAP.

Is there something you wish friends or family would say to you? Please feel free to share it with others in the comments section.

© 2012 Toni Bernhard

What It’s Really Like To Be Chronically Ill

amazing and really hits home with how I feel

Thought Catalog

Society’s recent obsession with cancer stories and movies like The Fault in Our Stars made me realize that the average person doesn’t know what it’s really like to be sick. Chronically sick. What it’s like to wake up every morning and know you’re never going to get better. No amount of medicine, doctors, surgeries, and procedures can fix you.

I think the reason why people today love to hear about cancer stories is because they are just that. They are stories. They have a beginning, middle, and an end. While that end may not be a happy one, people are satisfied with closure. But my story doesn’t have an end. And people don’t seem to like stories without an ending.

Being sick isn’t as glamorous as they make it out to be in the movies. And unlike cancer perks, there are no “chronic illness perks.” Except maybe those really good…

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