Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form inside the body, binding internal organs together...and leaving the victim to suffer incredible pain. Since adhesions elude the eye of standard medical tests, and many doctors do not discuss the illness itself, a proper diagnosis of adhesions, or ARD (Adhesion Related Disorder), is often left up to the sufferer!
Many women find themselves suffering in pain and are often told it is simply part of being a woman. The medical world describes endometriosis as a "puzzling, baffling" illness and one for which there is little help. Many women, however, are learning their "puzzling and baffling" illness was actually adhesions; fibrous bands of scar tissue that had entrapped internal organs, leaving the victim of this misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and most often under diagnosed illness begging in vain for help. You can read more at this link:
Statistics show the average adhesions sufferer will search 7-10 years for an answer to debilitating pain! Often misdiagnosed, undiagnosed or under-diagnosed, the sufferer of this disorder will wander from one doctor to the next while physician after physician turns the patient away. Desperate, many sufferers (my daughter included) have waited months for an appointment at a renowned medical center, only to be dismissed after a ten-minute interview. This dismissal often comes by way of insult: "you're depressed; I'll write a prescription for an antidepressant". For the person who sits on the exam table, it is the final blow; completely devastating. Who, just WHO will listen? If the "best of the best" turn a deaf ear, then there is no help....you are a lost soul. Lost in illness. Lost in a medical maze, where every door that is opened is just as quickly slammed in your face.
Can "defensive medicine" be the reason behind the 7-10 year search for the adhesions sufferer? After all, adhesions are an all-too-common medical disorder (occurring in 93% of patients who undergo major abdominal or pelvic surgery, with 53% of these people developing problematic symptoms caused by adhesion formation) so why are sufferers of this disorder tossed to and fro like a ship lost at sea each time they make an appointment with a doctor? Tests are performed, and performed....and performed. However, a lame diagnosis is often given. (IBS and depression being the most common).
Can it be that countless doctors have lost the compassion for those who greatly suffer illness? Have physicians lost the ability to "see" the patient because they fear the liability, the risk, the cost, the trouble ahead?
When the physician suspicions adhesions, does it become easier to insult the patient who sits before him as a means to rid himself of a patient, i.e., a liability?
The following article covers information pulled from a survey of 825 doctors Though the article dates back to 2005, its subject matter remains relevant. Click on the link to read more:
What do you know about adhesions and surgical barriers? Unless you have had surgery, this topic is likely not on your radar of necessary things to know. Yet, the Johnson and Johnson company says patients should be aware of adhesions, the complications they cause, and should discuss adhesions with their doctor prior to surgery. Say what? Yes, another case of medicine transferring responsibility to the patient, while the doctor is held blameless to any adhesion complications that may arise after a surgical procedure. You can read more at this article:Adhesions and Surgical Barriers.
Adhesions are common in people who have had abdominal or pelvic surgery. However, inflammation or infection in the body can also cause adhesion formation. Scar tissue (adhesions) can cause intestinal blockage, which can lead to death if not properly treated. Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are some of the symptoms that result as adhesions block intestines from their normal function. Severe, (beyond average stomach pain) accompanied by fever is a sure sign the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately.
Adhesions sufferers spend an average 7-10 years in search of an answer to pain. Hidden from the probing eye of medical tests such as x-rays, CT scans, upper gi's, etc., the unfortunate sufferer will spend a fortune going from doctor to doctor in an effort to find a single physician who will validate his or her pain.
This blog is provided to promote awareness of this devastating, often life-altering illness.
ARD sufferers describe these symptoms:
Alternating constipation and intermittent diarrhea
Difficulty with movement (due to organs being fused together)
Difficulty completing simple tasks (taking a shower)
Difficulty eating, and/or pain increasing upon food entering the stomach
Limitations with positions of comfort (some ARD sufferers must sit in a chair to sleep, while others state sitting only increases pain).
While these may not be all the symptoms adhesions cause, this is a list of the most common descriptions I read from emails of sufferers.
The risk of postoperative adhesions during the informed consent process is a rare discussion from surgeon to patient. Arguably, it is the unfortunate ARD sufferer who is promoting awareness of this dreadful condition, as surgeons continue to remain closed-mouthed in regards to the risk of adhesion formation during the informed consent process.
Informed consent should mean complete and concise information about the surgical procedure, including the discussion of the risk of postoperative adhesions. However, all too often the patient signs away while the performing surgeon withholds this critical information. Why? The statistics are staggering! * 93% of patients undergoing abdominal or pelvic surgery will develop adhesions. Tissue handing, precision of surgery and proper barriers are critical components in reducing the risk of postoperative adhesions.
The implication of adhesions from a surgical procedure can prove to be a life-altering condition that leaves many people suffering its devastating effects. Adding insult to injury, once adhesions develop and the patient returns to the doctor to discuss troubling pain, they find themselves on the path to nowhere. More often than not, the doctor dismisses the pain and tells the patient they should allow more time for complete healing. The patient leaves, returns 6 weeks later with the same (or increased) troubling pain, only to be told they have likely developed a new condition called IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Rarely will a surgeon agree with the patient that new problems could indeed be a result of the operation. Even rarer would be the surgeon who would suggest the OPERATION has created a condition known among physicians as adhesions, or adhesion related disorder.
The patient should remember one thing: when it comes to surgery, he or she is first and foremost viewed as a liability.
Please clink on the link below, scroll down and click on the audio. Please listen to the complete audio, as it provides a glimpse into the minds of a few surgeons.
The book, Doctors: Bound By Secrecy? Victims: Bound By Pain! came about as the result of illness. My daughter, Melissa, was 13 years old when illness suddenly struck her down. After suffering incredible pain for a 6-8 month period, she was finally diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Prednisone was prescribed and she was sent home to live a life of excruciating abdominal pain, accompanied by constant nausea, vomiting, back pain and headaches.
The doctor advised us to join a pediatric Crohn's support group so Melissa would see she was not the only child dealing with such a devastating new script that had been written for her life.
I will never forget that first meeting. It didn't take long for me to realize Melissa's pain and problems were different than those of the other children. The next day, I made my way to the library and began a thorough research of Crohn's disease. What I learned, as is chronicled in the book, changed the course of our lives.
I was convinced my daughter had been misdiagnosed.
Though I didn't know at the time, it would be years before the answer I desperately sought would come to light.
During those years, I made a vow to God I intended to keep: show me what is wrong with my child and I will tell the world.
Melissa was actually suffering from adhesions. Her internal organs were fused together, her intestines locked down due to thick bands of scar tissue.
Two surgeries in the USA failed her. Unbelievably, she became worse. (Surgery for adhesions without proper technique and an adequate barrier results in more adhesions.)
In 2003, at the advice of a USA surgeon, we made our way to Europe to Dr. Daniel Kruschinkski, a world renowned surgeon who is beating the odds against adhesion related disorder.
Since that single trip, my daughter has been well. (No, Melissa has not been to Germany twice for surgery, only once.) We are grateful to report that Melissa's long and painful struggle with illness was solved in one 5-hour surgery in April of 2003.
My hope is to inform, educate and promote awareness of this devastating illness. (Doctors are reluctant to mention the possibility of adhesions as a culprit in many cases of abdominal pain because surgery is the number one cause of the illness.)
The information found on this website is to share the personal story of my daughter's trying journey with Adhesion Related Disorder. This website is designed solely to: inform, educate, and shatter the silence that surrounds the illness of adhesions, or ARD (Adhesion Related Disorder). The postings within this site are the opinions of the author and/or guests who post here. No content of this website should be construed as medical advice. This site does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician for all matters concening physical and mental health. 3/14/07