What is ARD?
Abdominal adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form inside the body between abdominal organs and tissues binding them together. They can form as a result of surgery or other injury or trauma to the abdomen. They can be thin and flimsy or dense and hard. Usually organs are slippery and slide easily alongside each other but adhesions cause them to stick and fuse together.
Adhesions are the body’s natural response to surgery or trauma but in some patients this process spirals out of control and the body cannot stop producing them. Organs become restricted and unable to function normally.
A person suffering from adhesions (or ARD) can experience constant tearing, pulling and burning pain along with nausea, vomiting, bloating, migraines, back pain, chronic fatigue, inability to digest food, constipation and bowel obstructions. Adhesions can kink and pull intestines out of place causing a bowel obstruction. A complete bowel obstruction is life threatening and requires immediate medical help.
Adhesions do not show up on medical scans. The only way to see them is to open up the body and look inside but since surgery is also the number one cause of adhesions many surgeons refuse to operate on a patient with ARD.
Not everybody who has surgery will develop adhesions and not everybody who develops adhesions will suffer all of the above symptoms. Unfortunately I was one of the very unlucky ones who developed very severe ARD after having emergency surgery in 2008.
There are some very helpful articles and websites available for those who wish to learn more about this condition. Please check out the links page for more information.