With two C-sections under my belt, I can tell you that my doctors gave me little healing advice other than “take it easy at first.” I really hate how typical western medicine is so textbook, so one-size-fits-all with little useful advice. My doctors gave me the same generic instructions they tell everyone.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they weren’t so into cutting women open to birth their babies? And if they absolutely had to, they would give them helpful advice to speed along healing like herbal tonics, homeopathic treatments or massage techniques to help the scar heal properly. Obviously none of this was discussed. They gave me a prescription for pain meds and told me to be careful. See you later sucker – make sure you pay that hefty surgery bill!
I’m being cynical, but honestly why don’t OB/Gyn doctors focus on important things like telling women about the possibility of scar tissue causing adhesions, which can cause serious problems for women later in life. The medical journal “Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology” published an article in late 2009 which stated,
“Most surgical procedures performed by obstetrician-gynecologists are associated with pelvic adhesions that cause subsequent serious sequelae [consequences], including small bowel obstruction, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and difficulty in postoperative treatment, including complexity during subsequent surgical procedures.”
Up until recently, I had never heard of adhesions or the importance of massaging my C-section scars. I came across the idea on a woman’s blog who just gave birth with the assistance of a doula. Her doula told her all kinds of great things like the importance of chiropractic care in pregnancy, how to avoid testing positive for Strep B and the importance of massaging a C-section scar, among many other interesting things. Read the post here.
I began looking into why scars should be massaged. I discovered that as wounds heal and scar tissue is formed, it can expand inside the body and fuse to organs, attaching what is not normally stuck together. The website Pregnancy.org explains:
When scar tissue forms it lays its fibers down very haphazardly in all different directions. It also may adhere to tissues you don’t want it to, mainly the fascia and organs. The fascia is a band of connective tissues covering or binding together parts of the body, such as muscles or organs.
In the abdomen it can cause adhesions. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind together body parts that are normally unconnected. Any tissue it comes into contact with may stick to it. With c-sections it’s very common to have an adhesion on your colon, ovary or between your bladder and uterus. Think of these fibers as a tangled mess of yarn that has bounced around your room, wrapped around everything but where it should be! Scar tissue needs to be shown how to lie down properly.
What is worse is the statistics for women with repeat C-sections show that the chance of adhesions forming only rises with subsequent operations. According to a 2007 study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: (Source)
- Among women who underwent a second C-section, 46% (100 out of 217), developed pelvic adhesions.
- Among women treated with a third C-section, 75% (48 out of 64) developed adhesions.
- Among women treated with a fourth C-section, five out of six (83%) developed pelvic adhesions.
Why aren’t our doctors talking to us about this? If women can do something as simple as massage the scar to prevent these problems, our doctors should be telling us. Honestly, I don’t even like to think about my scars. When I do I get grossed out. The thought of touching it is super uncomfortable. I have no feeling in that area anymore, when I touch it I can only feel it on my fingers and then inside below my skin. Everything around the scar is still numb, two years after my second C-section. But if massaging it will prevent small bowel obstruction, frequent urination and the other problems discussed above, I will gladly do it.
How to properly massage a scar.
I am working at getting through this video without shuddering… it seems very helpful and informative for anyone without C-section scar issues. (Which I must have! Ughh!) I am going to keep trying to incorporate scar massage in my daily routine to help avoid problems.
Do you have any experience with scar massage or C-Section recovery? I’m interested to learn more. Please share in the comments below!