In most cases, abdominal adhesions produce no symptoms. If they do occur, the most common symptom is chronic abdominal pain, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. Approximately 93 percent of those who have abdominal surgery develop abdominal adhesions.
Because there are usually no symptoms of abdominal adhesions, they often heal on their own, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. Abdominal adhesions are also difficult to see on ultrasounds or X-rays, so surgery is often the main way to diagnose them. Other ways that doctors diagnose abdominal adhesions include abdominal X-rays, which are different from typical X-rays; a lower gastrointestinal series; or a computed tomography scan.
If abdominal adhesions do not cause symptoms, they usually do not require treatment, claims the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. For those that do cause pain, fertility issues or intestinal obstruction, surgery is the only treatment option. Because surgery carries a risk of developing additional abdominal adhesions, it is important that an individual weighs the risks and talks to a doctor to find the best option. If abdominal adhesions cause complete intestinal obstruction, surgery must occur immediately, but other treatments may work for partial obstructions.