Endometriosis Adhesions: Symptoms and Treatment Tips

Medically Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on September 09, 2022
3 min read

Adhesions are thick bands of scar tissue inside your body. They may form after surgery or an infection. They can make your organs stick together or to the inside of your belly. Some people have pain while others don’t feel anything.

When endometrial tissue breaks down, it may irritate and inflame the surrounding area, causing scar tissue to grow. These are endometriosis adhesions.

Pain is the main symptom, and it’s different from the pain caused by endometriosis. It may feel like something is pulling or tugging on your insides.

Adhesions can grow around and in your intestines. This can slow or block the movement of food or poop. Signs of blockage can include:

A total blockage can be life threatening. Go to the emergency room right away if you have severe pain or if you can't pee, poop or pass gas.

Scar tissue on your bladder can stop it from emptying all the way. You might feel pain or a constant urge to use the bathroom.

Adhesions also can lead to infertility, or problems getting pregnant. That’s because an egg travels from one of your ovaries to the uterus through your fallopian tubes each month. It may be hard for sperm to reach the egg and fertilize it if there’s scar tissue in or on your fallopian tubes.

Painful intercourse is sometimes the first sign you have scar tissue. Adhesions can make sex uncomfortable if they’re on your ovaries or anywhere in the pelvis..

Adhesions can be hard to diagnose. They're not easy for your doctor to feel during pelvic exam. They also might not show up on imaging like ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs.

A laparoscopy can show scar tissue. That’s when your doctor puts you to sleep and makes a very small cut near your belly button. They then put a very small scope with a light and camera on the end through the opening. The scope can help your doctor spot adhesions and take them out.

If your adhesions don’t bother you, you may be able to leave them alone.

Birth control pills and other types of hormone therapy can slow the growth of endometrial tissue, prevent new adhesions from forming, and relieve pain. However, they won't get rid of scar tissue that you already have.

A physical therapy technique called soft tissue mobilization might also help. During this treatment, the therapist puts gentle pressure on the affected areas of tissue in your belly to release adhesions and relieve pain.

Surgery is an option if you’re in a lot of pain. Your doctor can take out adhesions and any endometrial tissue that causes discomfort during a laparoscopy. Like any procedure, there are risks. New scar tissue could form. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons, and ask them what can be done to ward off adhesions.