Pelvic adhesive disease is a condition in which scar tissue binds adjacent organs to each other. The organs in your abdominal cavity are covered with smooth slippery tissue that allows adjacent organs to glide easily against each other. When this tissue becomes damaged, scar tissue forms, causes organs to “stick” to each other. These bands of scar tissue are called adhesions.
Adhesions that form inside or around the ends of the fallopian tubes may block an egg and sperm from meeting and can cause infertility. Other complications such as ectopic pregnancy may arise if the scar tissue partially forms around the fallopian tubes.
The most common causes of pelvic adhesive disease are improperly performed surgical procedures, infections (included sexually transmitted infections), and inflammation from endometriosis.
Your medical history and a pelvic exam may suggest the presence of pelvic adhesive disease, but only a laparoscopy or hysteroscopy (outpatient procedures in which your doctor can explore the affected area through a narrow fiber-optic telescope) can confirm this diagnosis.
Most women with adhesions do not have any symptoms, except for infertility. But for other women, pelvic adhesions can pose a serious detriment to the quality of life. Some women may experience severe, menstrual cramps, tenderness, pain during intercourse, or pain during bowel movements.
For women who wish to conceive, or for those who are suffering with severe pelvic pain, surgery to repair these adhesions may be necessary. Fortunately, the surgery is minimally invasive and may be performed during diagnostic procedures such as a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy.