Sometimes the usual delivery method can put the baby or the mother at risk during childbirth. In this case, obstetricians and midwives resort to the surgical delivery method known as C-section or cesarean section. Just like any other surgical procedure, however, pain and scarring are common post-surgical symptoms the new mom faces. For this reason, pain medications are common before complete recovery. At this point, the mother receives specific recommendations from her doctor, which include drug prescriptions and advice about things to avoid (such as strenuous activity and heavy lifting).
Here are the reasons why you should avoid long term pain medication after a C- Section.
1. Worsened pain
As ironic as it may seem, long-term medication can worsen the pain after a C-Section. In most cases, opioids are prescribed to help reduce pain in the first few weeks to months after a C-section. Nonetheless, some studies have shown that opioids might actually make chronic pain more severe. This is especially the case in long-term pain medications that can sometimes be addictive. This is because, with time, your body can develop tolerance to the drugs, which leaves it wanting more to relieve pain. Furthermore, depression and stress studies show that people who suffer from pain after C-section develop fear, stress, and a kind of depression. It has also been proven that this pain may still continue even when taking opioids. In this case, most experts suggest leaning more on antidepressant medication and less on painkillers.
2. Hormone imbalance
After C-Section your body can experience chronic pain that can end up triggering the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. The stress can be intensified by the thought that you need to recover as quickly as possible. In some women, opioids lead to a decrease in the production of estrogen, the female sex hormone. This affects the overall cycle of the endocrine system, leading to what is known as hormonal imbalance. Especially for a new mom, hormone imbalance can make it quite challenging for you to raise a healthy newborn. This is because it can lead to a wide variety of problems, including emotional imbalance, mood swings, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular stress, and a range of metabolic changes in the body.
3. Weakens the immune system
After a surgery such as a C-section, it is normal for the immune system to slightly weekend. However, studies have shown that opioids can lead to a further weakening of the immune system.
4. Bowel problems
Constipation is a big problem for those people who have undergone C-section and are still undergoing long-term medication. This is believed to affect more than 70 percent of C-section moms that use opioids long after the procedure. It could also result in the development of uncomfortable hemorrhoids or other life-threatening bowel complications. To reduce the constipation problem, most experts advise using stool softening medications and laxatives.
Despite the above reasons to avoid long-term medication after cesarean delivery, the buck stops with your obstetrician or medical doctor. It is important to follow the prescription to the letter without skipping your dose or overdosing. Nonetheless, it is of great importance to seek help early enough if you suspect that your body is developing a tolerance for your pain medication to avoid addiction and dependence. There is always help near you if you’re trying to recover from the opioid addiction crisis.