Why is my 10-year-old C-section scar aching now?
November 8, 2015 7:06 PM   Subscribe

For the last few months (and no: I am absolutely not pregnant) one side of my ancient C-section scar has hurt when I sneezed or moved too suddenly. Sort of a sharp twinge. Occasionally the whole scar will hurt and I am afraid to stretch out or twist too abruptly for fear of hurting or possibly tearing something . You are not my doctor! I will go to a doctor! But before I do, I wouldn't mind hearing from anyone who's experienced this. Special snowflake information follows.

My scar is ugly and longer than lots of them (but still a bikini cut); I was not a fan of the OB who did my surgery and had lots of trauma around it. I felt very much like I was pressured into it too soon, and my treatment during and after pushed me into a severe PPD/PTSD situation. I will, honestly, still cry if I talk about it, even after therapy. So I am not eager to go poking around in that part of my anatomy without a damn good reason. Because I'm going to be triggered by the process. On the other hand, if it might be serious, I can't ignore it. There is no visible issue on the outside; it looks the same as ever. I've lost a tiny bit of weight, but doesn't seem like it's enough to matter.
posted by emjaybee to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The nerves grow about a millimeter a month, and when they start growing across the scar tissue IT IS HELLA ITCHY and feels hella weird. I had a GREAT C-section surgery with a surgeon I love and an incision the nurses admired, and 9 to 18 months was still full of itchy and weird regrowth of nerves that itched and squirmed and felt terrible and weird. Eventually it stopped!

Talk to a guy, because you don't want to screw around with a surgical incision, but C-section scars feel SUPER WEIRD as they grow back in, that is not abnormal.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:21 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

(background, I had a bikini style c-section over 20 years ago). It might be the adhesions? The uterus has its own incision and sometimes that sticks to the muscle wall incision and they tear apart and it hurts with stretches and sometimes when I am ovulating on that side. My doctors said it was normal but I would definitely get it checked out, just to be safe. If it is adhesions there really isn't anything to be done about them, at least with current medical science.
posted by ladyriffraff at 7:23 PM on November 8, 2015

You probably have adhesions.
You can try to massage them yourself, here's a little info. http://www.pregnancy.org/article/massage-your-c-section-scar
posted by littlewater at 8:23 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had abdominal surgery last year to remove a good chunk of my colon, and while I don't get weird pains around my scar anymore it seemed like they'd randomly come back months afterwards, much later than I would have expected. I also had a big chunk of skin taken out of one leg years ago when they thought I had a melanoma, and that scar was numb for YEARS afterwards. Scars are weird. They can itch and hurt and be numb and do all sorts of weird stuff, even if everything is basically fine.

You don't say how old the scar is, but if it's "ancient" I'm guessing it's OK by now. (Mind you, this is only a guess.) If it's hurting consistently I would mention it to your PCP. I'm guessing it's something a real doctor could answer pretty quickly, maybe in one visit. If this pain is an ongoing thing you should mention it, but go in knowing that the odds are against anything being seriously wrong.

Given how much this still upsets you, I'd strongly suggest talking to a therapist about it if you haven't already. You shouldn't have to struggle with pain like that alone.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:53 AM on November 9, 2015

I have a C-section scar that was initially opened in 2004 for surgery to remove a fibroid and then again in 2009 and 2011 for pregnancies. It twinges sometimes if I sit up too quickly or exert myself at the gym or sometimes when I'm just chilling on the couch. I asked my OB about it at my last annual and she said it could be the nerves growing back or adhesions or whatever - but basically, nothing to worry about.

Take care. I'm so sorry you're hurting.
posted by sutel at 4:12 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you feel the scar- I mean really palpate, can you feel the ridge of scar tissue beneath it? Can you follow it the length of the scar? Does any part of it feel 'stuck' to the skin? Does most of it? Is the pain (that you feel sneezing/moving) in one part of the scar or the whole length? My guess would be that you have a bunch of adhesions (or one big one) where the tissues have healed (fused) together and then you sneezed one day and ripped a little piece of that scar tissue inside. At 10 years there's not a whole lot you can do without some major pain (massage) or a surgical revision (which, ugh).

What I would probably do is gentle massage on a daily basis (Google for scar adhesion massage) and treat it as if I was healing for a second time. Ibuprofen- anti-inflammatory, alternating heat and cold- promote blood flow to the area (scar tissue is a low blood flow tissue and blood is what it takes to heal), and being very careful with your movements.

My c-section scar healed beautifully for my first 7 years ago, but the second c-section 18 months later did not heal quite as well. I have a little area on one side where I can feel everything stuck together. If I try to stretch (cobra? pose) it is very uncomfortable. I also think my bladder got adhered to something in there. It's a brutal surgery and I'm sorry it has caused you such anguish.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:00 AM on November 9, 2015

In case I wasn't clear, the length of time this has been bothering you wouldn't personally cause me alarm. Scar tissue is a blood poor tissue and takes for-freaking-ever to heal up. And, since you're constantly moving it will take even longer. I WOULD be concerned enough to see a doctor if the pain was deeper in your abdomen and not just at the surface scar. Of course IANAD!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:05 AM on November 9, 2015

I had thought probably adhesions, but information on them online is minimal or is about people who've had bowel surgery. Has anyone successfully dealt with adhesions? There don't seem to be that many options for dealing with them either, which is not helping my stress about this.

I guess there's no way to know why they're bothering me 10 years after surgery all of a sudden.
posted by emjaybee at 6:58 AM on November 9, 2015

Adhesions are possible, if not likely. I have a 'bikini' incision and a few other abdominal incisions/scars from various surgeries over the years and I still feel occasional tenderness, itchy, tingling, pain when sneezing, etc. Although you say your recent weight loss was small, in my experience a change in weight can definitely make me more aware of my scars day to day.

With that said, there is a very small risk that pain around an old incision could be an incisional hernia. It's worth discussing with your PCP at your next annual, but unless the pain gets significantly worse it's certainly not emergent.
posted by telegraph at 7:08 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

It may not necessarily be adhesions -- it may just be the nerves coming back to life.

I had keyhole surgery to tidy up adhesions caused by endometriosis about a decade ago, and the scar on the right side "woke up" about four years after that. That part of my abdomen had been numb for years until it suddenly changed. My OB-GYN said that was totally normal and to keep an eye on the pain and tingling.

You're getting some great advice in this thread, but do follow up with your doc if it's concerning you.
posted by vickyverky at 9:34 AM on November 9, 2015

vickyverky, did the pain and tingling go on for a long time, or did it heal eventually?

(and thanks all)
posted by emjaybee at 10:00 AM on November 9, 2015

« Older looking for (pen)ultimate laptop bag   |   How to talk about biosafety when I might soon be... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.