Scar Tissue from C-Section Causing Abdominal Pain Years Later? Here’s How to Help
Today’s post is all about dealing with scar tissue from a C-section that causes abdominal pain, even years later.
In the last two decades, cesarean surgeries have skyrocketed. Some of these C-sections are for health reasons while others are due to convenience.
In most cases, a cesarean delivery isn’t the woman’s choice, but the only way she can safely deliver her baby.
Either way, going through a cesarean surgery can be rough. It’s a major surgery and can leave a large surgical scar.
There are lots of other uncomfortable things that happen after, like leg and feet swelling after a C-section.
But there are other things too. The incision from the C section cuts through your core muscles and uterus and can causes some women to experience pain in their abdominal area after surgery.
Some women even struggle with c-section scar pain years later.
And, while it may be frustrating to deal with the pain, there are things you can do to help minimize the scar pain in the long run and help ease the chronic pain.
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Common C-Section Scar Issues
With over 33% of births ending in surgery in 2012 alone, it is no wonder that so many women are dealing with painful scar tissue after a c-section.
Problems with c-section scars have become quite a topic of great concern.
Some women even report having abdominal pain years after their c-section.
The most common way for physicians to perform a cesarean is to do the bikini cut which is an incision right above the bikini line in a horizontal manner.
As with any incision or injury to the body, it can cause scar tissue.
The outward scar is just the tip of the iceberg for many women.
Adhesions After C-Section
After the c-section, some women can develop excess scar tissue or hypertrophic scars.
They have trouble bending, stooping or picking up their newborn from the pain and discomfort the scar leaves.
Others may feel the scar area is tender to the touch and may sometimes pull on the muscles nearby and cause lower pelvic pain.
Some women even find themselves constantly bending forward because of the discomfort, causing lower back pain.
Another complication that can be even worse, is when the ligament from the labia that crosses over the pelvic brim gets caught up in the scar tissue.
This can cause great discomfort and even debilitating pain when changing positions from sitting to standing.
This is due to adhesions after a c-section, which is basically internal scaring.
What Are Adhesions?
Adhesions are very strong strands of collagen tissue that can form after your surgery.
These strands can adhere your tissues and organs to each other on the inside of your body, almost like glue.
This is what causes much of the pain and discomfort even years after your c-section.
Other Complications of Adhesions After C-Section
Complications of adhesions after a C-Section can include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Constipation and digestive problems
- Painful intercourse & bowel movements
These types of complications occur because scar tissue and adhesions pull on the abdominal cavity and affect the surrounding organs.
Why Does All of This Happen?
Well, it helps to understand scar tissue. When an incision is made, scar tissue forms where the other tissue was.
Scar tissue is not as elastic and is inferior to the normal tissue.
Scar tissue can attach itself to organs and cause other problems.
While it is made of collagen, it is not as flexible.
How to Help Your Scar?
Recent studies have shown that massage and manipulation of the scar tissue supports healthy healing.
Many physical therapists now are treating women who have had a cesarean to help them heal quicker with better results.
With rehabilitative care, your cesarean scar can be healthy and pain-free in a short time.
What’s the Downside?
Unfortunately, the massage and manipulation that helps heal the cesarean scar can be quite painful.
Because there is limited blood flow in the scar tissue, any type of manipulation can be really painful.
Physical therapy can include pushing, pinching, massaging, rubbing and anything else that gets the area to move and blood to circulate.
Because the scar tissue already hurts, this can cause many women to shy away from the treatment.
However, the gain is worth the pain in most instances.
How can I help at home?
Healing from your cesarean section is important and your home care regimen is key to your success.
Don’t be afraid to touch it at home and get to reacquaint yourself with your body.
Of course, let it heal for the first six weeks before touching it so it doesn’t get infected.
But home manipulation can help with the healing process too. Things like massage can help with numbness around the scar and help relieve some of the pain.
When to Start Massage?
It is a good idea to begin your mobilization and massage healing as soon as possible for greatest results.
Anytime between six and eight weeks post-partum is a good idea, but it’s always good to consult with your doctor and have a plan.
Also, it may be good to have a friend go with you so you have moral support to push you through the pain.
If you want to get started with massaging your scar tissue from home, here’s a short video on how you can massage your c-section scar tissue yourself.
Remember, you can heal nicely from a cesarean with a little help.
Just be gentle on your body and listen to its cues.
By taking the time to heal and massage your scar correctly, you can avoid complications later on in life.
Healing Your Post Baby Body
If your trying to heal your body after baby, strengthen your core and even lose some of that baby weight, you should try my friend Katies awesome program for moms.
My abdominal muscles were damaged after pregnancy, and this is helped me see real results.
She’s a mom who had dealt with these struggles too, and her mission is to help moms going through the same problems see real results.
Check out The Postpartum Cure. You won’t regret it!
How can I get my stomach muscles to regain strength so that I can legal and gain feeling and become tighter in my vagina? I had 3 c sections.
Depending on where you are in your postpartum timeline, I highly recommend doing specific exercises that are designed for postpartum moms. Always check with your doctor first if you’ve had a baby recently. Doing exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscles is important and check yourself for a condition called diastasis recti. <- This was my problem. I found a great postpartum program that helped me big time though! It's called The Postpartum Cure. Loved it!
I had 4 surgerys , 3 were 2 years apart, last one, was 14 years ago, first 2 were c, sections, 3d,, partial hisyorectomie,, 14 years ago I had the last one, removal of both ovaries. First 3 were vertically and last bikini cut, too low, I told Dr. Not to do it so low bc, I don’t este bikini. Now a suffer so much pain, it’s burning like pain, it’s so sore, pain all the time.
Painful intercourse. They did remove scars after each surgery. What can I do Now? I have so much pain, through all my belly, pls help
I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering so much. I would start with the massage like demonstrated above, but if possible try looking for a physical therapist who could help you. So many physical therapists are great at helping with this sort of thing. I would definately start there. I hope you find relief soon!
I had 4 c section it’s am always in pain
Ihad 2 surgerys. First one 7 years ago. His my taco baby. Somehow his foot and head where trying to come out. They doctor had to hold him in while everyones going crazy to get me back to surgery. They cut my badder. But everything was fine. They other surgery was a year later. I had twins so i thought i should be done with kids. I have 4 now. I got my tubes clamp. But it hurt so bad on my sides plus the scar. Im not sure what to do or if its just normal?
I had a C section 13 years ago and everything was fine. However the last 6 months I have been suffering from abdominal pain and I have narrowed it down to just above my C section scar which is slightly above my bikini area. I have had ultrasounds, blood tests and the last GP thought it was IBS. I now have the pain daily and it is a burning sensation that it really uncomfortable and constant. Is this likely to be linked to scar tissue from the C section and is there anything I can do to ease this? I have not been back to my GP as I feel I am wasting their time but instead I am in constant discomfort,
I too have the burning pain. My C section was 8 years ago. After many test we are thinking that it is my
C section scar. I have just started pelvic floor therapy so hopefully this will help to reduce the pain. Maybe this would help you as well.
Ursh, I had my first c section 10 years ago then my second 6 years ago. The pain I have is the lower right pelvis area right above my scar which seems to be causing lower back pain as well. I’ve been going to acupuncture and it has help considerably with the symptoms but don’t think it’s done much to fix the root cause. I’ve been also working on pelvis and abdominal exercises to help strengthen. Hope u can find what works for your body soon.
I had my 1st C-Section 3 years ago. I did gain about 70lbs during the pregnancy. I’m finally down to being about 15-20lbs pre-baby weight and over the last 6 months or so, I’ll randomly feel pain on my scar. The last couple weeks, one side of my scar seems to have a 3 inch bulge but on the inside (if that makes sense). The opposite side of my scar I do not feel the same bulge. I have been encouraged to ask a dr. But at the same time, I don’t want to go if it’s just another life after c-section moment… any comments, helpful tips or advice would be great!! Also, anyone reading this, what was it like to be pregnant again and deliver after the first c-section?
Hi, that buldge could be a hernia and you should definitely get it checked out. I had an emergency c section with my first; tore bilaterally. I got pregnant again 13 months later and would get some shooting, sharp pains in my previous scar location once my belly started getting heavier.
hi my name is petra i had my c-section in 2014 when my daughter was born i had her 4 years ago and i had my first pain this morning and it still hurts and then when i got up to go to the bathroom it still hurt
and then when i came out to the living room of my house i got hot and then dizzy no i am cold again but still in pain.
The suddenness of the pain along with the hot/dizzy feeling would concern me a bit. I would get evaluated by a doctor if you can. Sometimes that hot and dizzy/cold feeling can mean a fever, which could mean some sort of infection. I’d see someone to be sure.
Hello. i had my first and only c section almost 6 year ago. Surgery was an emergency due to complications in labor but years later and I’m having terrible abdominal pain. I also have a huge knot patruding from my c section scar, to the touch it feels like a bone is sticking out and it’s very painful and makes life hell. My doctor said i may need surgery to have scar tissue removed, but to try to avoid surgery if i plan on having more . Anyone ever have this problem?
Did you ever get any relief with that (surgery or anything)? I had my c-section almost 3 months ago, and i got this hard lump protruding, with red skin over it, very painful! Dr thought it was hernia; ultrasound didn’t show hernia… still waiting to see surgeon…
I have had three c sections, my last being 14 years ago. My scar sometimes is tender, and I have pain in that area, sometimes feel like cramps and sometimes a burning pulling type pain. Tests have found small fibroids, and a cyst that was mostly dissolved. Now I’m wondering if it is c section scar tissue causing a lot of the pain. After all these years is there anything I can do? Would the massaging help this many years later?
I’m so sorry you are struggling! If I was dealing with the issues you are, I would definitely look for a physical therapist that specializes in this area. (They do exist!) They could help show you what would work for your specific issues.
From my understanding, the massaging can help even after a very long time. It’s amazing at what a little-specialized work can do for relieving pain in the body. But a professional would probably help you most.
Look into pelvic floor physical therapy. You have to have a doctors note to receive the therapy but this is most likely the only way to decrease the burning sensation. It’s a combination of massage and pelvic exercise with the therapist. Hope it helps!
I had 2 c-sections…only a 1yr 2mo apart..The first one was prefect…It healed in 2-3 weeks…I had no pain, or complications.. The second on the other hand had the most complications…Note..Both c sections were emergencies…the second one was more urgent seeing that I had my son a month earlier than he was due. .They stuck me over 16 times to get me an epidural and was unsuccessful. They proceeded by putting me asleep during c section…I was extremely worried and it turns out that I shouldve been… After having the baby…I woke in excruciating pain…I wept and wept from the pain wondering why did It hurt so bad. Turns out they had a intern working on me …not only that he put tiny staples on my incision and Im certainly not a small woman(The first one had huge staples) … I was furious! The staples were already ripping my skin the first day I left the hospital..After about a week I woke up to my oldest son screaming and when trying to get up…my incision busted open… It was a very bloody scene…Long story short…it ended up getting infected and had to take medicine to heal it..the hospital never addressed what they had done wrong and I was left suffering…I decided I didnt want to go back to any doctors because they denied that it was a problem when I knew for certain It was..Here I am 3 years later…btw no one would take my case because there was no proof of any “permanent damage” when in actuality my body screamed for help..Ive had surgeries and they still denied that it was any problems…I was devastated…My incision looks horrible…and my stomach hangs over it….Here I am 3years later…My incision is hard when i touch it and It seems to still be split underneath…Its painful if i press on it and abdominal pain has yet to leave…I have problems with digestion and gas…Im truly scared of doctors now but I know I have to do something soon before its too late…im so tired! I can barely flex my stomach muscles and I have other complications also…what should I do??
I had a c-section 3 yrs ago. I run a lot and do cross training but have always avoided lower ab workouts because of the c-section and this false fear of tearing something. I do planks and stuff like that but not leg lifts or crunches. So today in a pilates class there was lower ab work that I did with them and tonight I feel a throbbing pain in the scars in the muscle where I had the c-section. Is this normal and ok? Will the soreness from working new muscles always feel different now? Or is it in my head? Like a phantom pain?
I ask myself the same question all the time. Is this just in my head, but I have regular horrible pains when I try to do good core workouts to compliment my triathlon training. My c-section was very traumatic and against my consent, so I wonder if it’s psycho-somatic, but I don’t think it is. the pain tugs and pulls and can be really sharp.
I have had 3 sections. My last one was 14 years ago. I just recently started working out with a trainer once a work. I did some slide planks the other day and was sore in my abs for almost a week. I don’t mind the soreness but now that it’s worn off I have severe sharp burning pains in my left side under my scar. I’ve had to have scar tissue removed before because it had wrapped around my bladder and kidneys. But this feels more like just one specific area almost like I tore or ruptured something. If the pain doesn’t get better in a day or two, I’ll be going to the Dr.
Ive had two C- Sectiins. One 21 years ago and one 19 years ago. Over the last several months ivd had pelvic pain on my right side.
Ivd had blood tests, ultrasounds and a CT scan.
Im nearly 51 and am perimenopausal.
I know thr lining of the womb can get yhinnee with age! Can the scarring mske it more sensitive. Thr scar is alfo limpy.
I have had 4 c-sections i be in so much pain.I think the doctor cut me in the same spot all four times.I pain so much on the regular.especially when mother nature hits.my youngest just turned 5. Is this normal?????? What meds actually helps with the pain???
Nothing helps ladies. Doctors cut us open and are clueless afterwards. I’m sorry to hear of all your misery! I live with it too. Two c-sections, eight years apart, scheduled and uncomplicated. First I healed Ok, it wasn’t fun but I was normal after a few months. Scar looks fine, no bumps, infections or any visible anything. But something went considerably wrong after my second surgery, four years ago . From the start and on one side only, seems to radiate from the very right tip of my scar. I have searing, awful, screaming pain that runs perpendicular to the edge of my scar from belly button to labia. I am in constant, stabbing, burning pain. I have tried all kinds of medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care, injections, nerve blocks, coil embolization and cryoablation and still miserable. Sex is painful so completely gone. I can move but the more I do the more the pain increases. It’s aggravated by sitting, squatting, bending, basically just living. This is hell. I can no longer stand to wear underwear or pants, the slightest touch of anything against that area could make me cry. A seat belt is painful, it’s just pathetic and difficult beyond belief. I’m trying to remain positive, I try not to feel it has ruined my life but I’m disappointed that Doctors are so ignorant with all the women experiencing pain after c-sections. I’ve been bounced from 18 doctors, each with a new and equally useless (often more aggravating)idea pertaining to their specialty. Gyno and OB Doctors were the least knowledgeable of all yet they did and do the cutting! Wish all of you would wake up tomorrow back to normal, that’s what I hope for.
Hi, I’ve read that there are ligaments connecting you labia to uterus, ( or smthg along those lines) and that they can accidentally get damaged, resulting in exactly the problems you are describing, you need to get another doctor to see you and ask for a referral to obs&gynie xx
Over 13 years since my c section and now I have endometriosis and always have burning pinching pain from belly button down it is horrible skin is so sensitive feels like I just had a c section
I had a c section after 4 epidurals bc they kept wearing off?!?! She was a month early my water.broke i was in labor 6 hours with no luck so i had a csection and everythin was fine until a year later and no known injuries i could no longer stand up straight. Im doing physical therapy but now i haave swelling in my legs that last days and even when the swelling goes down i still have so much water retention i guess…bc my skin is so tight and when i press on a spot on my leg the indent stays for a good couple of minutes. Had mri xrays blood work all showing nothing…anyone had anythun like this happen to them?