C-Section Scar Infection – Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

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Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

C-Section Scar Infection

Cesarean section births are rising nowadays. A C-section delivery is done by making a deliberate incision in the lower abdomen, which is mostly horizontal. Some C-sections are also done by making a vertical incision, though it is rare. Since it is a surgical method, obviously there are risks of C- section scar infection affecting the mother.

Infections can happen at the incision site or in the abdomen itself. The invasion of infection can be immediately after birth or in the recovery phase. However, with adequate wound care, you can minimize the risk of catching an infection. Find out everything about C-Section Scar Infection – Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment

In This Article

What Are The Signs Of A C-section Infection?

Generally, C-section infection occurs due to the entry of notorious bacteria from the surgical site. Around 3 to 6 percent of patients are vulnerable to this type of C-section infection. The Symptoms are:

  • Pain or redness at the site – if you cannot look at it ask someone else from your family to look at it daily
  • Swelling at the site of incision or pain and swelling in legs
  • A fever that rises to or above 100.4°F
  • Any kind of discharge or drainage from the wound
  • Advancing abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Urinary problems such as burning, pain, difficulty in using the loo
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Expulsion of clots from the vagina
  • Sepsis or septicemia-a condition where the infection invades the blood circulation

In the event you notice any of these signs at the C-section wound, make sure that you reach out to your doctor at the earliest possible

What Are The Causes Of A C-Section Infection?

What Are The Causes Of A C-Section Infection_

Infection can occur due to an array of causes, though lack of adequate hygiene is one of the predominating one. Women having diabetes, pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, etc., are at a higher risk of getting their C-section incision infected. C-section infection is also more frequently seen in the following group of individuals:

  • Obese women or overweight women
  • Chorioamnionitis or infection of amniotic sac
  • Women taking steroids
  • C- section if closed with staples
  • Previous C-section
  • If you had an emergency C-section

How Is A Cesarean Scar Infection Diagnosis Done?

Adequate care against infection is done at the hospital before discharge. However, it has been observed that many mothers get c-section infections after the first couple of weeks. If you happen to notice any infection signs as stated above, you will need to contact your doctor immediately. A C-section is major abdominal surgery, hence follow-up visits to your doctor are mandatory.

Practice good hygiene and healing tips, and if you have been exposed to any unpleasant experience regarding your scar care, you must mention it to your doctor. The doctor may cut the wound a little to take a sample of the discharge. Some pus may also be taken to test for bacteria. The doctor will also look very closely at the incision site to check for the infection signs.

Cesarean Scar Infection Treatment

c scar care

The treatment of C-sections depends upon the invading organism. If the causative organism is of bacterial origin, then antibiotics are of great help. Depending upon the degree of infection, oral and intravenous antibiotics are administered.
In case an abscess is present, then using antibiotics alone will not do much help.

You need to follow the following things for proper healing:

  • Drainage of fluid from the abscess
  • Washing of the wound with sterile saline
  • Packing of the wound with sterile strips for absorbing drained fluid
  • Regular dressing
  • Get the healing wound checked regularly to see if there is any seepage of fluid from adjacent areas

If you are on antibiotics, you will need to complete the entire course even if you feel that the infection is gone

Cesarean Recovery And Healing

It is important to understand everything about C-Section Scar Infection – Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment. Give yourself at least 4-6 weeks of time to heal, a C-section is major surgery, so recovery will take some time. As far as recovery is concerned, nothing can beat proper rest and hygiene. However, proper medical care for the wound is equally important.

Find out some simple tips that can help heal faster:

  • Rest properly – though a newborn keeps a mother on the toes, yet get as must rest and sleep as you can
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights, or doing any strenuous activities
  • Increase intake of fluid, stay well hydrated
  • Give support to your tummy. Support your abdomen with a hand while sneezing or coughing. Walk straight and avoid bending too much, posture plays an important part when healing from a C-section delivery
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications for relieving pain and swelling

Read more about C-section recovery and healing here.

Read about C-section scar care here.

C-Section Scar Infection and Breastfeeding

Football Hold

Begin breastfeeding after C-section as early as possible. You can hold a pillow while breastfeeding to cut down the associated pain. You will have to carefully avoid any sort of uncomfortable pressure on your wound. Always breastfeed in a comfortable position. Though your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics for the infection, if you are breastfeeding, you should mention the same to her.

Following are the recommended breastfeeding positions that expedite recovery without putting any additional pressure on the C-section incision site:

  1. Football hold: With a bent elbow hold the baby on either side. Now support the baby’s head and support towards your breast. The back of the baby will rest on your forearm. You can use a pillow to get comfortable in this position
  2. Side-lying hold: Hold your baby to your breast while lying on your side. You can support it with your hand. Feed the baby in this position. As your baby starts to latch, you can support your head with the help of your arm

In case there is any problem in breastfeeding, seek the help of a doctor or lactation consultant.

C- Section Scar Infection Years Later

Women who have already undergone C-section should follow the following steps to mitigate the possibility of catching an infection.

  • You should take good care of the wound even if it is an old one
  • Keep the area clean and dry
  • Make sure you complete the course of antibiotics
  • Do not wear close-fitting garments and avoid applying lotions over the affected area
  • Do not allow folds of skin to touch the incision area
  • If you have any queries, do not hesitate to clarify them with your doctor

Cesarean Scar Infection Complications

Improper wound care can cause the following serious, life-threatening complications:

  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Rupturing of the fascia
  • Dehiscence of the wound
  • Evisceration of wound

Now you are well informed about C-Section Scar Infection – Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment. If any of the above-listed complications are present, then the recovery time is prolonged.

So be aware, be protected!

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

Responses (1)

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Sep 09, 2016

Third c section 3days after coming home, had excruitiating abdominal pain. Within minutes incision opened up and my intestines started c oming out fast. Called 911 and was rushed by ambulance to ER, where I was taken immediately to surgery. They had to irrigate and put my intestines back inside of me and sew me back up. Day of caesarean they used staples. I was kept in hospital for a week on heavy duty antibiotics intravenously and orally.

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