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What are pelvic adhesions?

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Pelvic adhesions are a type of scar tissue that occur between any two tissues or internal organs of the pelvic cavity, explains the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These adhesions develop between different types of tissue surfaces, including the fallopian tubes, bowel, bladder, ovaries and uterus. Some severe adhesions are associated with diseases, such as endometriosis, while others cause infertility by blocking the fallopian tubes.

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Adhesions in the pelvic area result from inflammatory responses, caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, surgery or infection, notes Resolve, the national fertility association. With tubal surgery or endometriosis, adhesions form inside the fallopian tubes or on the outside surface of the tubes. Adhesions inside the fallopian tubes block the opening and prevent a mature egg from being released. This causes an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Pelvic adhesions are removed with a laparoscopy procedure in order to reduce pain caused by the scar tissue and improve fertility, explains Resolve. To prevent more adhesions from forming, patients can request laparoscopic surgical procedures of the pelvic area that use less invasive instruments and seek medical attention for pelvic infections immediately. Scar tissue is detected through a laparoscopic procedure, but is not seen with a traditional ultrasound.

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