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This image answers the question, "Do adhesions cause intestinal problems?"

Left: Adhesions forming inside the bowel Top Right: Adhesions forming outside the bowel Bottom Right: Adhesions kinking the bowel together like a garden hose

Adhesions form as the bodies first response to a trauma, surgery, infection, or inflammation. These adhesions are made up of strong, fibrous cross links that attach to the nearby tissues and organs of the damaged area. When the abdomen or bowel experiences a trauma, adhesions can begin to form in the bowels, causing bowel obstructions. These adhesions can cause bowel obstruction in three different ways.

1. Adhesions can form inside the bowel.

When the bowel experiences a trauma, such as a surgery to remove part of the bowel, adhesions can form inside the bowel. These adhesions, made of thick collagen bonds, make it difficult for food to pass and can often cause cramping and pain during the digestion process.

2. Adhesions can surround and restrict the bowel from the outside.

After a pelvic or abdominal trauma, adhesions can form outside the bowels. These adhesions can surround the delicate tissues of the bowel, restricting and pinching them from the outside. This causes a decrease in digestive function and often pain and cramping after eating.

3. Adhesions can surround and kink the bowel like a garden hose.

When adhesions form on the outside of the bowel, they can surround the bowel causing it to kink much like a garden hose. This often creates a partial bowel obstruction, which makes digestion of solid foods difficult.

Treatment options offered to those who experience bowel obstruction is generally surgery. However, the surgical treatment for clearing bowel obstructions is the main cause of repeat obstructions. This can often lead to an endless cycle of obstructions and repeat surgeries.

A new non-surgical technique, known as the Wurn Technique,  is now being examined as an alternative treatment for bowel obstruction patients. This therapy uses hands-on physical therapy techniques to address the underlying adhesions that cause bowel obstruction.

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