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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Abdominal Pain - Adhesions?

3:14 PM


So your stomach hurts again. You've been to countless physicians, yet you continue to come up empty handed. No answers to your pain. You're weary of doctors who have suggested that you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). You're even more weary of doctors who have received the results of all your tests (lab, scans, MRI's) and have concluded that you are "normal". And you have learned to brace yourself. For when the tests are normal, you are chalked up as a psychotic patient. One who definitely needs further evaluation--just not on your stomach. Yes, dear friend, you are not ill. Your belly does not hurt. You are only weird, spooky, and...that dreaded word...crazy.

Well, we can't throw all the doctors under the bus (just some of them), for doctors have been taught to rely on tests! And, this is exactly what the majority do. When the tests do not deliver the necessary answers to pain, the physician may not look further, rather he (she) quickly makes a determination about you. Unfortunately for the adhesion sufferer, that determination is often insulting...and almost as painful as the illness of adhesions itself.

My passion to share about the illness of adhesions came about as a result of my daughter's fourteen year struggle with severe and chronic abdominal pain; in addition to other symptoms: nausea, vomiting, back pain, pelvic pain, headaches, feeling short of breath, and severe fatigue. She walked doubled-over; always guarding her extremely sensitive stomach with her hands. More often than not, we were met with resistance from the many physicians and specialists we sought out in hopes of finding one who would find the answer to her very real, debilitating, pain.

Adhesions, bands of internal scar tissue, are foremost known among physicians to be an iatrogenic illness, meaning caused by the physician or by medical treatment. Surgery is the number one cause of adhesions, yet many patients preparing for surgery have not been informed of the risk of adhesions.

Adhesions can also form in the body as a result of infection or inflammation. Appendicitis, peritonitis, sexually transmitted disease, trauma to the body (including surgical trauma) and radiation are other means by which adhesions may take hold in the body. Adding insult to injury, adhesions cannot be seen on standard medical tests, thus the average adhesion sufferer spends 7-10 years in search of an answer to his (her) pain.

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