Question: What are the signs of internal bleeding after c-section?
With millions of women undergoing a c-section yearly, there is a possibility of serious complications happening especially in parts of the world with poor healthcare facilities.
First of all, a caesarian section is a common major operation carried out by a doctor in the theatre through an incision made in the lower abdomen to deliver a baby while ensuring minimal risk to both mother and child.
In fact, if you already have been visiting your OB/GYN doctor for prenatal check-ups, he/she would have informed you of a c-section beforehand. Having said that, other factors can trigger a c-section during delivery, and if emergency surgery is needed, your doctor will inform you too.
Currently, it is estimated that over 10 percent of women will have a c-section, and in some countries, the numbers are astonishingly high. But here’s the thing, the chances of a serious complication after a c-section is rare, though even in best hands, complications can occur.
Common complications that can happen after a c-section are infections, internal bleeding, vaginal bleeding with big size clots, and sometimes, death.
If you’ve had a c-section and now worried about the risk of internal bleeding, it is essential to see your doctor right away.
This article explains the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding after c-section, and urgent treatment needed.
Symptoms and signs of internal bleeding after c-section
Like already mentioned, if you are suspecting abnormal symptoms or health concerns after your surgery, see your doctor right away.
Internal bleeding after c-section is a serious health issue, and most times a corrective surgery is required to stop the bleeding permanently.
If you are unsure what the sign and symptoms are, here are some signs to help you
Fast heart rate and pulse
Regularly checking your heart rate is surely not a habit, but if you are suspecting internal bleeding, it is vital you listen to your heartbeat in a calm environment.
Another way to help is checking your pulse by placing your fingers on your wrist.
If your heart rate or pulse rate is high, it means that something is wrong, and possibly, it could be because you’re losing so much blood internally.
And so, your hearth regulates itself to beat faster, ensuring enough nutrients and oxygen are supplied to your body.
You are breathing faster than normal
Fast-breathing (or having difficulty in breathing) is another way to know if you have internal bleeding. This happens because, at your lungs, deoxygenated blood gets filled with oxygen, and then, oxidized blood is moved to other parts of your body for normal function.
If you are bleeding internally after caesarian section, you will notice you are breathing faster than normal, also called tachypnoea by doctors.
Another way to tell if you have internal bleeding is a sudden excruciating sharp pain in your abdominal (usually on all sides). In fact, this may be an early sign you will experience as blood leaks into your abdomen resulting in inflammation.
If you experience sharp abdominal pain, dizziness, fast-breathing, and a fast heart rate, inevitably, something is not okay. See your doctor quickly.
Vaginal bleeding after c-section is not uncommon. In fact, it is expected that women who have c-section will have twice as much blood loss than women who had a vaginal delivery.
Also, after your surgery, your womb cleans itself on its own, and you will get to see dark, bloody fluid that will continue for days (sometimes lasting for weeks). This is called vaginal lochia.
However, if you notice you have big sized clots from your vagina right after your surgery, it’s likely there is a problem.
There are different reasons this may happen, and it could be due to a retained placenta, traumatized cervix, bleeding vessel, damaged or torn stitches, or even a bleeding disorder. Inform your doctor right away.
You look white, pale and tired
Looking pale, feeling dizzy and tired is a sign of excessive blood loss. Usually, if you lose so much blood, you will feel weak and tired, and this happens because you don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism.
In addition to body weakness, skin color changes, including decreased redness of the mucous membranes, is a sign of internal bleeding.
Decreased urine output
Another sign to watch out for is how frequent you empty your bladder. In cases of internal bleeding after surgery, your body has its own regulatory mechanism that quickly interrupts blood supply to your kidneys.
This is vital to send adequate blood supply, oxygen, and nutrients to vital organs/systems in your body like your brain and heart.
Because of this decreased blood supply to your kidneys), you will have reduced urine output until there is a correction of lost blood volume.
Ruptured or torn internal stitches with a soaked wound dressing
During a c-section procedure, your doctor will make about a 10cm curvilinear incision on the body of the uterus (the lower segment) to deliver your baby.
After delivery of the baby and the placenta, the initial opening of the uterus is closed with absorbable sutures.
Should these stitches rupture or mistakingly get torn, there is a chance you will have heavy bleeding that may soak up the dressing on your abdominal.
Treatment of Haemorrhage after c-section
Most times, some complications like internal bleeding right after your surgery happen while you are still in the hospital. If you are already discharged and observe signs of possible internal bleeding, call your doctor immediately.
Depending on the reason you are bleeding, you may require another surgery. Also, if your womb fails to adequately contract after your surgery, it may cause much more bleeding, though, this can be controlled with the use of oxytocin infusion.
If you’ve also lost so much blood, your doctor may request that you get one or more units of blood transfusion to prevent hypovolemic shock or death.
Therefore, internal bleeding or any sign of blood loss after surgery is an emergency, and it is not something you can manage on your own. See a doctor to help identify the reason its occurring, and then, for urgent intervention.