Friday, June 4, 2010

Methods for Healing Cesarean Scars and My Game Plan

There are many, many ways to speed healing of the physical scars left by cesarean section. I'm going to try to list as many as I can find here and outline my own game plan for physical healing. If there is anything that I left out, please feel free to tell me in the comments! I will be discussing the various methods in their own posts at a later date.

Lotions and Potions
 In this category are topical treatments like Vitamin E, Mederma and other various things that can be bought at the drug store or in fancy maternity shops online. The basic principal in using this method to heal scars is by encouraging cell turn over and by keeping the area moisturized and primed with antioxidants you are providing the ideal healing environment. This method requires that you apply your treatment at least once a day and even as much as three times a day (in the case of Mederma) for many months to see a noticeable difference.

Silicone Sheets
The exact mechanism that makes silicone sheets function for scar healing is not fully understood but the proof is in the pudding (or on the many bellies of c-section moms who swear by these sheets...wait, did I just say we have pudding bellies? Ugh. Freudian slip much?). A silicone sheet is a long strip of silicone that you adhere to your scar for several hours a day for however long as is directed (it appears that the length of time worn varies by brand). Theories suggest that the increased pressure, hydration, oxygen tension, and the presence of silicone in the local environment due to the application of the silicone sheets is what helps to heal scars covered by silicone. Silicone sheets produce a static electric field (resulting from friction of the silicone material) that might have an effect on wound healing. 
There are many different approaches to using massage to help encourage healing with regards to c-sections scars. This will a topic that will be greatly expanded upon as I work through my journey as it's been one of the things that I've had a hard time finding a comprehensive source for (aside from paying a massage therapist). So far, the massage techniques that I have heard of that will be expanded upon here will be myofascial release, maya abdominal massage, and plain ole' lubricated massage. Each type of massage has their own list of benefits and processes for how they work to help heal scars and break up adhesions, so I won't start getting into it now.
I will warn you that to date I have only been able to stand massaging my own scar in the shower with bath gel and a loofa so this will definitely be something that is hard for me to do. 

There are several oral supplements that can be taken to help aid in the healing of scars. From antioxidants like vitamin E to Evening Primrose Oil to homeopathic and herbal treatments. I will attempt to cover as many as I can find and provide as much supporting evidence for each as I can. Just remember, I am not a medical professional and you should discuss things like this with your care provider! 

Other Methods 
Other methods that I have heard include Reiki, acupuncture, dry brushing, and  using a TENS machine. As I learn more about these methods, I will post more information. 

My Personal Game Plan
My current plan for my physical scar is to start using topical Evening Primrose Oil to massage my scar starting once a day (as suggested by my midwife, Kelli Johnson) and working my way up to twice a day by the end of the month. I ordered this silicone sheet from and it should be arriving sometime next week, so I will be using that as directed once it's here. I will be increasing my intake of antioxidants (currently I have vitamin C in my medicine cabinet, so I'll start with that and eventually add zinc and possibly more as I go along). I'm also curious as to whether the TENS machine could help me and since my mom happens to have one, I will probably also give that a try. I will be posting daily pictures of my scar as well as observations on how I think these treatments are working and how my scar is looking and feeling to me. 

I will be developing a game plan for my emotional healing at a later time, but so far I have joined ICAN (since a few weeks after the birth actually) and I have started therapy with a wonderful counselor, Pam Goldsmith. I will talk more in depth about emotional c-section healing somewhere down the road. For now, I'll be primarily focusing on the physical aspects of my healing process.

1 comment: