With the improvement in technology and advancement in modern science, researchers have developed easier and hassle-free methods and procedures, such as cesarean section or C-section birth to diminish acute distress inflicted by labor pain during birth. While a normal delivery takes place through the vagina wherein the mother has to endure irresistible pain, a cesarean birth occurs through an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus without much pain.
Though C-sections are not recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) unless considered medically necessary, it is still opted by many women. Contrary to the popular beliefs, recent medical developments have made the recovery process after C-sections faster, less painful and less addictive.
Though C-sections are not addictive in nature, the frequently used medications, such as opioids like Percocet or Vicodin, during the recuperation procedure can develop the problem of opioid abuse. Subsequently, a report by the Quintiles IMS Institute found that in nine out of every 10 surgeries patients are prescribed with opioid RXs in order to overcome their postsurgical torment. They are administered as many as 85 pills that increases risk by manifold. The report also found that the overprescription of opioids post-surgery resulted in nearly 3.3 billion unused pills in 2016 alone. The deluge of such a large amount of unused prescription opioids in the society leads to an increased risk of diversion and misuse.
A study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology highlights the perils of women recuperating from C-section. The researchers analyzed 179 patients and found that while 83 percent utilized the prescribed opioids for about eight days after their discharge from the hospital, around 75 percent still had unused pills. This can particularly pose a serious threat to women, as they are 40 percent more likely to end up developing an affinity for opioids post exposer to them.
According to Dr. Richard Chudacoff, M.D., an OB/GYN specialist, the only way to prevent women from getting hooked on to opioids is to support them with alternative pain management protocols when recovering from a C-section.
Dr. Chudacoff further explains that opioids do not alleviate pain, rather make one forget about it. In fact, opioids make a person callous or insensitive about everything else that may affect his or her daily life. Nevertheless, if the medications are removed during the pregnancy and recovery period, patients can have more mental clarity after giving birth.
Apparently, a majority of people struggling with opioid or heroin dependence ignited their addiction by consuming painkillers after a surgery, such as C-section. Over time, women taking opioids after a C-section are likely to develop a propensity for these drugs. Since these drugs helped them sleep, move and feel better, they tend to use the drugs post-surgery when they are a little depressed.
Since C-sections are major surgeries, women will need painkillers to alleviate pain. Consequently, women aged 40 to 59 are prescribed more opioids than any other age group and receive twice as many opioid prescriptions than their male counterparts. This group is largely at risk for developing dependence and addiction to opioids, especially after a surgery.
Those who take painkillers for short-term relief from pain witness no issue. However, with persistent use of opioids one starts developing the symptoms of increased dependence on opioids.
Opioids are known for their extreme potency and addictive attributes. Even a single dose is enough to clasp one under its dominance. Dr. Chudacoff, however, says that instead of postoperative opioids, medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) can be used to pre-treat pain in a non-opioid manner. This also eliminates the risk of developing an addiction.
The key to stay away from any addictive medication is to check on the alternatives with the specialist. The fatal deaths escalating due to opioid use has quadrupled since 1999, accounting for an estimated of 15,000 deaths in 2015. Therefore, it is imperative to have proper knowledge about such potential drugs. Besides adequate consultation, one can successfully overcome the problem of opioid addiction by undergoing a proper detox therapy.
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