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Every woman who just had a cesarean section will expect the incision to hurt badly, unless you take pain meds. But many mothers who had c-sections months, years, or even decades ago complain that their scar can still play up at times.

Your post-op recovery

Cesarean sections are the most common operation carried out on women in the United States. While a c-section is a very safe operation particularly in cases where it is planned in advance there is no doubt that it is also major abdominal surgery that has a big impact on a woman's whole body. In the days following the surgery, women will have access to (and need!) IV pain medications, and later oral pain killers. Mothers who had a cesarean should get up and be active as soon as possible.

Most are able to go for a short walk after about 24 hours of their surgery. Their incision site will be sore, itchy, and newly postpartum c-section moms will have trouble walking, sitting up, or bending over without pain. As the cesarean section incisions (both the incision in the uterus and in the abdominal wall) begin to heal, scar tissue forms. Scar tissue is much harder than normal skin tissues, and are there to protect the structural integrity of your organs. Still, many women are really afraid to take a look at their incision and how it is healing. Once the bandages come of, they may notice the skin around the incision site feels a little different, and that the scar area is sensitive to outside influences.

Long-term healing?

My friends who had c-sections all mention that their scar feels "weird" in certain circumstances. Most are sensitive to weather changes, and especially notice their scar in colder weather. Some notice their scar more at certain points during the menstrual cycle, and many women experience pregnancy after c-section differently; there may be pulling sensations around the incision site, or even pain. One 2008 study published in Birth found that 18 percent of women with c-section experience still felt actual pain in their incision site six months after their c-section.

This shows that my friends' experience is not unique by any means. Scientific research probing into the long-term pain as a side effect of cesarean sections is unfortunately severely lacking. Online discussion boards and blog posts may not be very scholarly, but to us they do prove one thing a large number of mothers who had a cesarean section feel abdominal pain or discomfort for a long time. Is there anything you can do about it if you are one of those women?

Some doctor suggest that the post-cesarean pain so many mothers suffer from can be overcome. The pain is linked to adhesions formed after the c-section, as part of the body's natural defense mechanism and healing process. Surgically removing those adhesions, their reasoning goes, will remove the pain. But hang on a second. Won't a new surgery result in new adhesions? Will your c-section scar ever stop hurting? The answer is unclear. If you are in pain from a previous c-section, it makes sense to discuss your problem with your doctor, however.

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