Is Your C-Section Scar Burning and Stinging?

Whether you have recently had a c-section, are preparing to have one, or want to gain more information on the subject, it is essential to be aware of complications that can arise.

Many people do not widely discuss the risks of having a c-section because they don’t want to scare new mothers.

However, when it comes to c-section recovery, arming yourself with information on what you can expect can save you a lot of pain and suffering down the road.

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In this article, I am going to specifically discuss when c-section scars start creating a burning or stinging sensation.

What do c-section incisions look like?

C-section incisions are generally made in one of two ways. First, the surgeon will either create a horizontal incision just above the pubic bone or a vertical incision down the abdomen, from the belly button to the pubic bone. 

Your healthcare giver will decide the type of incision used on the day, depending on what will be best for you and your baby.

Factors that determine which incision your doctor chooses will include the position your baby is in, any health problems you may have, and whether or not you have had previous c-section procedures.

Is it normal to feel pain after a c-section?

Undoubtedly, one of the first questions you will have after your c-section is whether or not it is normal to feel pain at the site of your c-section. Specifically, will it be painful? Will it burn or sting?

The truth is, pain from a c-section can be completely normal, and pain alone does not tend to be a sign for alarm.

However, when the pain experienced feels like burning or stinging, it may be a sign that you are experiencing a complication with the recovery of your surgery.

What causes burning and stinging sensations after a c-section?

If you are suffering from a burning or stinging sensation after your c-section, there could be a number of complications that have occurred.

Nerve damage

When your surgeon makes an incision for your c-section, they operate on an area close to a collection of nerves in your abdomen. These are the ilioinguinal and the iliohypogastric nerves.

These nerves pass through your abdomen and can be easily damaged during a c-section procedure.

They may also operate close to your genitofemoral nerve, which extends from the lower abdomen down to the upper thighs and can also be affected during surgery.

Endometriosis

In some cases, after a c-section, the healing scar tissue in the uterus can connect to surrounding organs. Although less common, it can cause severe pain. 

Usually, you will feel a small lump underneath the c-section scar on the abdomen when this occurs.

Infection

As with most surgeries, there is always a risk of infection during recovery. For example, a c-section scar that creates a burning or stinging sensation could mean the incision is infected and not healing correctly.

This will sometimes be accompanied by a foul odor, discharge from the wound, and a fever. Your scar may also feel warm to the touch, and you may experience nausea or dizziness.

Hernia

In rare instances, mothers may develop a hernia due to complications from organs being moved around during the c-section procedure.

This will often be accompanied by severe pain and swelling on one side of your scar.

What to do if your c-section scar is burning or stinging?

If you experience any burning or stinging pain around the site of your c-section scar, you should always seek medical advice.

Depending on the cause of your pain, your doctor will recommend one of, or a combination of, the following treatments:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to treat infections. If your doctor suspects your c-section incision is infected, they will most likely prescribe you antibiotics to help your recovery. 

If you have endometriosis due to a c-section, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to clear it up and stop the pain.

Painkillers

If you are experiencing pain in your scar that is not due to infection, your doctor may prescribe you some painkillers to help you cope.

It is better to talk to your doctor rather than self-prescribe pain medication, especially if you are breastfeeding, to make sure it won’t harm you or your baby.

Ice or heat

Like with most injuries, adding heat or ice may be recommended to help your scar heal. Ice can help to reduce any swelling along the scar. Heat is a perfect, natural way to help soothe abdominal pains or cramps that your c-section scar may be causing you.

Anesthetic shot

It is normal to feel some discomfort following a c-section, as the nerves in your lower abdomen are disturbed during the procedure.

However, suppose you are experiencing a burning or stinging sensation around your scar due to nerve irritation or damage. In that case, your doctor may give you an anesthetic shot to numb the nerves and reduce your pain.

Scar tissue mobilization

Otherwise known as scar tissue massage, this light movement around the scar tissue will allow circulation and prevent fluids from building up around the site that could result in an infection.

Increasing circulation allows more blood to the scar to help it heal quicker.

Surgery to remove infected skin or nerves

In rare cases, the skin around the wound “dies” due to a lack of blood or due to a loss of nerves. In this situation, your doctor may decide it is best to operate and remove the offending skin so that your scar can start to heal properly.

Your doctor will discuss all possible alternatives for this and will only suggest surgery as a last resort. However, they will talk you through the procedure so you will know what to expect.

How to prevent your c-section scar from burning or stinging?

Clean wound as instructed

As part of the aftercare for your c-section, your health provider will instruct you on how to best look after your incision. This will include making sure you keep the scar clean with water and make sure you dry it thoroughly by patting it with a towel.

Make sure you are thorough with drying your incision wound as any humidity could lead to infection.

Wear loose, comfortable clothes

Whilst in recovery from your c-section, your wound will be very sensitive and easily irritated. 

Make sure to wear loose clothes you can move around freely to avoid fabrics rubbing against your wound, causing swelling and discomfort.

Also, avoid waistbands that hit directly around your c-section incision where possible, as the pressure can also cause a lot of pain.

Don’t exercise, lift anything heavy, or have sex in the first six weeks of recovery

Over-exerting your body in the early stages of your cesarean recovery will leave you susceptible to complications such as hernias, incision opening, and infection.

Your body has been through major surgery and needs time to recover, so take it easy. 

Accept any offers of help from friends and family; it will help put your mind and body at ease. And with a newborn baby in the house, you’ll come to appreciate the help!

Rest

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. It’s really among the holy grail of healthy, happy activities.

I know what you’re thinking. Sleep? With a newborn baby? Really?

Yes! While you’ll need to be up often to feed, change and look after your young baby, follow their sleep pattern, and take naps where you can.

Your child needs a mother who is as rested as possible.

Don’t worry about getting 8 hours if it’s unrealistic for you, but make sure you get as much sleep as you can. Lean on loved ones where you can to steal a few minutes’ shut-eye.

Healthy diet

Rushing around trying to look after a new life leaves little time for much else. But if there’s one thing that can help your healing and help reduce the risk of infections leading to a burning sensation in your scar, it’s eating healthy!

Don’t worry about being perfect with it, but make sure you add plenty of veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, and proteins to your diet to help your body heal.

Drink plenty of water

Your body is made of almost 70% water. So, it makes sense that water would help with healing.

Staying hydrated will help your body have enough energy to help close your cesarean incision.

Drinking lots of water also helps reduce the risk of infection, so make sure to keep a water bottle with you at all times!

Recovering from a cesarean procedure can be scary enough as it is. But when you add in burning and stinging pains from your wound, it’s normal to feel worried.

By following the advice in this post, I hope you now have the confidence to recognize any warning signs and implement some great strategies to prevent complications.

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