The last thing in any mother’s mind after a caesarean delivery is the c-section scar tissue that later become a reality. This article will give you a rundown of everything you need to know about c-section scarring including symptoms, pain, scar removal options and internal scar tissues.
C-Section Scar Tissue Symptoms
You may right now be wondering what some of the common c-section scar tissue symptoms are. Well, the most obvious symptom of scar tissue is the firm, red line that turns paler and flatter over time. In the case of keloid scars, the scar may continue growing and surpass the initial margins of the wound.
C-Section Scar Tissue – Scar Tissue after C-Section
A c-section is regarded a major surgery and as with any surgical procedure, scar tissue usually builds up at the site of incision, usually in the lower abdomen.
C-section scar tissue is a collection of fibrous tissue made of collagen. It builds up as the body tries to heal the wound, replacing normal skin tissue. The build up of collagen helps in strengthening the wound while the underlying tissue heals.
Collagen that comprises scar tissues is the same kind of protein found in normal skin tissues, but it has an inferior straight line formation as opposed to the basket-weave structure of normal collagen. This is why c-section scar tissue (and any other scar tissue for that matter) looks different than the surrounding skin.
With this in mind you may then be left wondering what you can do to prevent the formation of scar tissue after c-section. Well, there is really no way to prevent the formation of scar tissue after c-section per se since scarring is part of the skin’s natural healing process.
Massaging the scar tissue with olive oil or shea butter may however minimize scarring. You should however not massage the scar until after the initial wound has healed.
C-Section Scar Tissue Pain
It is normal to feel pain for the first few days as the incision heals. Your doctor will most likely include some pain relievers after the surgery to take care of the pain as the wound heals. Increasing pain is however a cause for concern as it is often an indication for infection.
As for chronic c-section scar tissue pain – more so after the incisions has healed considerably – it might be sign of adhesions. These are abnormal bands of scar tissue that attach themselves to nearby internal organs. Although harmless and typically not a cause of concern, they often lead to pinching of nerves as they form leading to pain.
One common scenario is whereby an internal scar tissue pinches a nerve that innervates into the urethra leading to pelvic pains, especially when using the bathroom. A scar tissue resulting from c-section can also attach itself to the colon leading to painful bowel movement.
You should talk to your doctor if you experience c-section scar tissue pain for appropriate advice and treatment.
Internal Scar Tissue after C-Section
C-section surgery typically involves making incisions on the wall of the abdomen and in the uterus. This means that it leaves both external and internal scar tissues.
Unfortunately, you cannot see the internal scar tissue and only become aware to most patients when it starts to develop complications such as pain when using the bathroom or passing the bowel.
Internal scar tissue after c-section can also interfere with subsequent pregnancies when it affects where and how the placenta attaches itself. These are some of the risks that patients need to consider when considering caesarean childbirth.
C-Section Scar Tissue Removal
A scar tissue is also not usually a concern for most women since it is located beneath the bikini line and is thus easy to hide with clothing.
If anything the scarring heals with time as to eventually become a thin, pale line that is not easily noticeable. In the event that bothers you however, you may consider one of the several c-section scar removal options listed below:
- Massaging: Massaging the scar with oil or shea butter can help to prevent excessive scarring. Massaging helps to drain the tissue fluid and facilitate mechanical break down of collagen that has build up in the scar tissue.
- Physiotherapy: internal scar tissue can benefit from physical therapies that are aimed at breaking up the problematic scar tissue. If you are experiencing painful bowel movements after a c-section, talk to a physiotherapist for appropriate treatment.
- Surgical scar revision: Aggressive scars may benefit from surgical scar revision which is basically speaking a surgical operation done to improve the appearance of a scar. It doesn’t however eliminate the scar completely.
- Scar creams: There are many creams available over-the-counter and on prescription today to enhance the appearance of scars. Talk to your doctor or surgeon about them. Some of the more popular ones are Mederma, Scarguard and Kelo-cote.
- Silicone gel sheets: Silicone gel sheets such as Rejuvenesse and ScarAway can also help to make your scar flatter and less visible.
- Laser treatment: Laser light can also be used to stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin and thus improve scarring. Talk to your doctor or a plastic surgeon about the prospect of using laser for your c-section scar.
Scar Tissue on Uterus from C-Section
As we have already mentioned elsewhere, c-section surgery involves making incisions on the abdomen and the uterus. Horizontal incisions are typically used which means that horizontal scar tissue will result in the uterine wall as the wound heals.
But in some emergency cases, the doctor may not have enough time to make the horizontal incision, instead resorting to the use of the traditional incision which then leads to the formation of a vertical scar tissue.
Uterine scar tissues are usually not a problem but they often affect how the placenta attaches itself in subsequent pregnancies which might make the chances of requiring a c-section for future deliveries higher. Scar tissues can also adhesions leading to complications such as pelvic and abdominal pain and painful bowel movement may result.
Preventing C-Section Scar Tissue Problems
It is inevitable that a c-section will result in a vertical or horizontal incision. However, with proper care, you will ensure that the scar heal properly and stay away from infections. In particular, you will want to observe the following guidelines:
- Avoid strenuous activities and sports that involve heavy lifting for 6 weeks or so as this can make the incision to open and result in infection and worse scarring.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter to ensure a smooth healing process and avert infections which can then lead to more intense scarring.
- Avoid scrubbing and rubbing the scar in the first few weeks. The FamilyEducation.com website recommends washing the scar in the shower using an antibacterial soap and using your fingertips to spread the soap along the line of scarring before rinsing the soap off gently.
- Talk to your doctor immediately if your c-section scar starts discharging pus or bleeding, become suddenly swollen, or opens up. These might be signs of infection and treatment may be needed.
C-Section Scar Tissue Lump
Patients often report having a hard lump near the c-section scar tissue. This is often attributed to the presence of an incisional hernia. An incisional hernia may heal by itself but treatment may sometimes be required including steroid injection.
An ultra sound and other diagnostic tests may however be necessary for proper diagnosis as the lump could be due to other conditions including cancerous tumors. The best course of action is to see your doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.