What are Pelvic Adhesions and Why are they Problematic?

What are Pelvic Adhesions and Why are they Problematic?

15:09 8th June 2018 | Causes of Female Infertility

Pelvic Adhesions

What are Pelvic Adhesions and Why are they Problematic?

When injury occurs in the pelvic region, certain tissues can ‘cling’ together and form pelvic adhesions, also known as scar tissue. These adhesions tend to form between or around organs in the pelvic region where the ‘damage’ occurred.

Why are Pelvic Adhesions Relevant?

In women, pelvic organs include the bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum. Pelvic adhesions can be painful and lead to all sorts of problems including obstruction and blockage. It is also important to be aware of and understand pelvic adhesions because they can lead to fertility problems if they are in certain locations.

What Causes Pelvic Adhesions to Form?

Certain diseases can cause pelvic adhesions to form, such as:

  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: female reproductive organs can become infected by a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia; resultant adhesions can block tubes

Inflammation can also be the cause of pelvic adhesions:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease: a group of chronic intestinal diseases
  • Appendicitis: inflamed appendix which can be very painful and dangerous
  • Cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder which holds a digestive fluid

Surgery:

  • The uterus, ovaries and tubes are more prone to the formation of adhesions after surgery to remove fibroids, an ectopic pregnancy or cysts and after surgery for endometriosis
  • Pelvic adhesions also have a higher chance of forming if unhealthy tissue is already present in the pelvic region before surgery

The individual, the type of surgery (major vs minor), the location of the surgery and even the individual’s genes may influence the likelihood of adhesions forming. Should you need surgery at some stage, you can discuss adhesion prevention products with your healthcare professional.

How Certain Adhesions in the Pelvic Region Can Affect Fertility

Ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus) is possible if there are adhesions in or around the Fallopian tubes.
Recurrent miscarriage and fertility challenges are possible when adhesions exist inside the uterus.

How are Pelvic Adhesions Diagnosed and Treated?

If pelvic adhesions are suspected, laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive) will be able to confirm or rule out their existence. Adhesions can be removed by performing a laparoscopy or laparotomy procedure.

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