BO. No, I am not going to discuss body odor. However, what I am going to discuss may be just as disturbing, so let’s just say you’ve been warned.

BOs: in my world, the world of pelvic/abdominal adhesions, the one fear we live with on a daily basis is BOs or bowel obstructions.  The adhesions usually like to wrap their way around bowel, which is the point where doctors decide that surgery is too dangerous.  Once the bowel has been compromised, we are left to battle symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and the ever present constipation on a daily basis. We live in fear of the day when the adhesions have a good grip on the bowels, causing a partial or full bowel obstruction.

From what I have learned from the adhesion groups on Facebook, the obstructions feel almost like childbirth. You have these strong, painful cramps and feel like you should be pushing. If it is a partial obstruction, then it usually passes and you are able to evacuate. However, if it doesn’t pass and you start to vomit, it is usually time to head to the ER and means surgery is eminent. These are the surgeries that our doctors dread the most. It is a life-saving surgery and there is always the chance that the person has waited too long and infection sets in or the person can end up coming out of the surgery with the dreaded colostomy bag.

Why am I telling you all this? Many people with severe adhesions eventually adopt a liquid diet to help to avoid BOs. I thank God every day that I am still able to eat. I worry about the day when I will have a partial or full BO. That is just part of life for people like me. One day, it will happen. I try to be prepared. I am on a variety of laxative-type medications every day to keep things moving and prevent a BO. My fridge is stocked with various protein shakes such as Ensure for when I must adopt the liquid diet (even if it is temporary).

I write about these unpleasant things so that you understand my worries, my pain, my life. So that if you ever meet a person with adhesions you understand them, their worries, their pain, and their life. So that you understand how the severe pain of daily living causes many to have to quit work. They are not lazy, they are in pain. Not just physical pain, but the emotional pain of being told by the doctors that there is nothing more that can be done. That no more surgeries can be done unless the “situation” becomes life threatening, and worrying daily if you will be able to get through the day with a lesser amount of pain than the day before and without having the dreaded BO.


23 thoughts on “BOs

  1. That certainly would be a fear! I’m sorry that you have to suffer like you do. If adhesions are scar tissue, how do they get to the areas that haven’t had surgery? I really would like to know more. GBY!


    • Adhesions can be caused by surgery, infection, and radiation. The majority of mine came from a severe abdominal infection in 2005 and then got worse with subsequent surgeries. I have an About Adhesions page and then my story is on the page MyHistory (Back Story). I can answer any questions you might have after that. Take care my friend.


      • Thank you Joy! For some reason I had understood they were caused by surgery so it is good to know more about them. I will go to your about page and learn more. I am sure I have read it but I guess I need to read again. 😀


        • They are USUALLY caused by surgeries. 93% of surgeries result in adhesion formation. But, they can be caused by infection and radiation. Oh, and Endometriosis can cause adhesions as well (I forgot about that one). So, for the most part you were right, because surgery is the most common cause. GBY!!!


  2. Thanks for sharing, my best friend suffers from the same. This past weekend we went to the coast for a weekend get away that was planned for months. The entire trip she suffered from severe pain.


    • You’re very welcome. I also did a page entitled About Adhesions. That makes the information easier to find because it’s not pushed down with subsequent posts. I hope that helps!


  3. Hi Joy I hope today was good for you! Im so happy for you! Please continue to write and share you are doing an amazing job! I’m afraid I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing in today because I’m working through another obstructive process in the making 😦 but this too shall pass (no pun intended)!! Ok, maybe there was! 🙂


    • LOL! I’m sorry to hear that. Do obstructions feel to you the way that they were described to me? I do hope I got it right. If yours feel differently let me know and I’ll add your symptoms to this post. I would say I hope you had a good day as well, but it sounds like it wasn’t that great. So here’s to hoping tomorrow is better!


      • Awe TY! Well, I think everyone is different, Having said that, however I usually have the same sx: slowing of motility, and pain and swelling as well as generalized edema, fatigue, thirst and dry skin. As it progresses, I can sometimes localize the pain to a general area, then I can hear the high pitched “bubbles & squeaks” which get louder and slower until motility is stopped by the adhesion which is referred to a mechanical blockage. At this point I may get a break in the pain but its short lived. I start a liquid diet if I haven’t already and wait. I can feel when it begins to move again and breaks through, meaning the adhesion is forced off the bowel and it is excruciating. It caused me to actively bleed internally for ten months from October 2012 until surgery in Aug 2013. I FELT it happen and walked into the hospital (doubled over) for a CT in October, thinking it was endometriosis pain. The CT report did reveal a “small collection of unknown fluid” which I was told was “probably normal” and would most likely go away. I continued to bleed internally until surgery at which time I required a blood transfusion because of it. After surgery, which was only five months ago, I had two more blockages from cellulitis which developed as a post-op complication. As you can see in the picture I posted, I really should have been in the ICU. I was very lucky to have escaped the dreaded colostomy! I have no explanation as to why it may be happening again.


  4. That sounds dreadful. I don’t think I have adhesions but I have had times I’ve felt exactly like what you’ve explained here, so maybe I get partial bowel obstructions? I really don’t know, my bowels movements are all over the place.


    • I don’t know, Meg. Maybe. Did you read the other lady’s (MySexyEndo) comment at the bottom? That is how they feel to her. I got my info from two or three ladies that are part of an adhesions awareness group on Facebook. So far I have been lucky enough to avoid them. If your pain is that extreme, you might want to bring it up with your doctor on the next visit. Didn’t you say you had laparoscopic surgery and that’s how they diagnosed what you have now? If there were any adhesions present, they should be on the surgical report, or maybe he (your doctor) will tell you if you ask.


  5. You know how bad my story is, that I have to take shots…a good way of describing adhesions are like sticky spider webs that spin around and just latch on to any and everything in the abdominal area, thats how a dr. described it to me when I was about 16 yrs. old.


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