Castor Plant

Guide to C-Section Scar Care with Castor Oil Packs

Castor PlantThese days many cesarean sections heal up well with a scar that is barely visible.  However, the surgery leaves many other effects including numbness, discomfort and disconnection from the lower abdominals.  The scar can often hold strong emotions as well.  All births are a time of extreme vulnerability and deep transformation.  Women’s birth scars are the symbols of their own rebirthing.

In my private practice, I do a lot of birth scar massage.  Through mindful attention and touch, I encourage scar tissue to break up so that the underlying tissues are free to move as they are meant to and receive healthy blood flow.  Many women have not wanted to look at or touch their scars because of how much this brings to the surface for them. When we massage these areas, we process the emotions held there by giving voice to the feelings. Through working on both the physical and emotional layers, the scar tissue begins to melt.

Aside from the more immediate physical and emotional impact of surgery, scar tissue can sometimes have far reaching and long term effects.  Read more about how scar tissue works in the body in my article: Sticky Situation:  What the Scars You Can’t See Are Doing To Your Body.

A simple and highly effective at home treatment for scars is castor oil packs.  Castor oil is derived from the castor seed and has been used as a healing remedy for centuries.  Castor oil helps to decrease inflammation, pull out toxins in tissues and dissolve scar tissue.  (By the way, you can use these treatments for any type of surgery, scar tissue or adhesions in the body).

Here’s how to do a castor oil treatment:

SUPPLIES

  1. High quality organic castor oil.
  2. Organic cotton flannel (usually sold right next to castor oil at your local holistic pharmacy or find here).
  3. A hot water bottle or a heating pad.
  4. Layer of plastic (saran wrap or cut up a plastic bag or trash bag). I use the old packages from my flannel.

PREPARATION

  1. Cut two layers of flannel to cover your scar and the surrounding areas.  Can be about the size of your heating pad or hot water bottle.
  2. Cut a piece of plastic that is a little larger than your flannel pieces.
  3. Stack the flannel one on top of the other.  Place enough castor oil on the top piece of flannel only to almost saturate but not soak the material.  Usually a couple of tablespoons.  (Because castor oil is quite thick and sticky I end up pouring lines of it on and then folding the fabric in various ways to spread it out).  The second piece of flannel is just there to absorb any extra castor oil.

PROCESS

NOTE:  Like anything, there is a small chance that you could be allergic to castor oil.  Place a small amount on your skin to test before doing a full treatment.

  1. Place the castor oil side of the flannel layers over your scar. Place the piece of plastic over the flannel (this is to protect your heat source).
  2. Place your hot water bottle or heating pad on top of the plastic.

You may want to place a towel underneath you in the event that the castor oil drips (although it shouldn’t be this soaked).  When I use a hot water bottle I also put a towel or blanket on top to keep the heat in.

  1. Relax and enjoy this treatment for 20-30 minutes.  Use it as a time to meditate on nice, deep belly breathes.
  2. Afterward you can spend a little time gently massaging the area.
  3. Wash the castor oil off with soap and water.

For perineal or internal vaginal scar tissue:
You can thoroughly soak an organic cotton tampon in castor oil and place this inside for 20-30 minutes.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  1. Your belly will be really soft after.  Some women who are wanting to strengthen their abs postpartum don’t like this softening.  It’s a temporary result of the treatment and will go back to normal within a couple of hours.  Softening is a good sign because that is what you want to happen with the underlying scar tissue.  Also, remember that our bellies are supposed to be somewhat soft, they’re holding all of our squishy internal organs!
  2. Intestinal bloating, discomfort or nausea.  This can be a sign that you have an imbalance in your gut flora.  The castor oil treatment will help this.  Castor oil treatments can also induce bowel movements.  Back off the treatments a bit if the intestinal side effects are bothersome.
  3. Following a castor oil treatment your scar may be red or a little weepy—meaning it might be releasing a little fluid.  This is normal and a good sign that things are changing.

FAQs

When I can I begin these treatments?

Your scar should be completely healed.  Wait at least six to eight weeks after surgery.

Is it safe to do castor oil packs while breastfeeding?

Yes.

Can I re-use the flannel?

Some people say absolutely never and some say you can use it a few times.  It’s important to consider that this treatment is pulling out toxins so these will also be soaking into the flannel.  I save and re-use the second layer that hasn’t been on my skin.

How often do I need to do these treatments?

The effects of castor oil are cumulative, meaning the more regular you are, the more effective it will be.  I like people to start out slowly with about three treatments per week and build up to daily treatments for 30 days.  (Depending on your level of sensitivity daily treatments might be too much, adjust accordingly).

How can I possibly find the time do this every day?

I work with tons of moms and know how precious your time is.  The most important thing is, is to simply do the best you can.  It’s better to do a treatment once a week than never.  Also, know that once you get your routine down, the preparation will be much faster.

My advice is to approach this as a loving self care ritual that feeds and nurtures you.  Light a candle, put on your favorite essential oils, play some relaxing music and soak in the time for yourself.  It will serve both you and your family.  It’s also OK to do this while you’re catching up on emails or watching your favorite TV show.  Make it work for your life.

Feel free to share your questions and experiences with castor oil treatments in the comments below.

Learn more about scar tissue remediation and working with Lara here.

Related:  Sticky Situation:  What the Scars You Can’t See Are Doing To Your Body.

19 thoughts on “Guide to C-Section Scar Care with Castor Oil Packs

  1. Angela mazzacco

    Can I use castor oil packs on c- section scar that is 16 years old? Also, I have fibroids, is it still ok to use packs? Thanks!!

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Angela, YES! Absolutely, you can always use castor oil packs no matter how long it has been. They can also help your fibroids.

  2. Larissa

    If the external scar/skin is healed 3 weeks after surgery, is it ok to start using castor oil packs? The stitches on the fascia haven’t dissolved yet, but I’m hoping the packs will help with that as well.

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Hi Larissa,

      Sorry to get back to you so late, we were on holiday break when you sent this! No, you do not want to use castor oil packs when you still have stitches. You’d want to wait at least 6 weeks and until you are COMPLETELY HEALED before using castor oil packs.

  3. sarah

    Curious how castor oil is able to penetrate internal scar tissue. I told my OB about castor packs today as I have pain from the scar tissue of two surgeries and he, not surprisingly, said he didn’t think it was possible. I’d love to see/send him any info you have about it’s effectiveness. Thanks!

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      It’s absolutely possible my teachers and I have seen improvements in dozens or more women and castor oil is an ancient remedy. Castor oil dissolves inflammation and scar tissue is essentially inflammation. Using heat over the castor oil helps it to penetrate deeper into your tissues. It’s cumulative so you want to be regular about it.

  4. terresa

    Hi i am trying to conceive, and have scar tissue by ovaries can i use castor oil and when should i start and stop using.thank u

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Yes, you can absolutely use castor oil packs to melt scar tissue on/around ovaries and to prepare for pregnancy. You do not want to be using castor oil packs when you are actively trying to conceive or if you think you might be pregnant.

  5. anjali

    Hello I have little burnt marks on legs , stomach and face and they are 6 years old can I boil Castrol oil and then use. Will this remove my scars

  6. Kayla

    Can castor oil dissolve stretch marks (I believe they are scars)?
    I have them on my bum and would like them gone :(

  7. zelle

    Hi. Thanks for this good info. Would like to know where the exact place to put the castor oil packs to do the treatment for my scar tissue due to PID on the end of my left fallopian tube. Hope u can help. Thanks.

  8. Lindsey

    Is it safe to use Castor oil packs on your c-section scar when you are breastfeeding? I have read on other sites that you shouldn’t because it releases toxins into your breast milk.

  9. Susan

    I am working with a gentleman who has had:
    – Ileostomy: 1976
    – Removal of colon and rectum
    – Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis
    – he had a mesh put in place to hold the remaining organs in place, many years ago
    He is very healthy, lives a healthy life-style, but has sharp abdominal pain and pain radiating from the whole urinary tract. His doctors fave tested him for kidney and urethra stones and kidney/bladder infection. He is as clean as a whistle – but the pain presents as if he has a bladder infection.
    I suspect it is lesions from the mesh.
    My question, do you feel the castor oil packs would help? I do. What is your opinion.
    Thank you.

  10. Lara

    I am still breastfeeding my one year old….but would like to try castor oil packs to treat a bulging low back disc, a lipoma on my hip, and a possible cyst or small fibroid in uterus. Is it safe during breastfeeding? Thanks so much for your reply

  11. Amber

    I’m 7 weeks post pardum and at my 6 week check up my doctor warned me that I had a lot of scar tissue build up from my episiotomy,. I’m so afraid to have sex. Will this castor oil help the internal scar tissue? Any advice will be great! I’ve only been married for two years and I really don’t want to have a ruined sex life. Please help. Thanks

  12. Rads

    Hi… I get pain during ovulation . it pains only during ovulation for 1 or 2 weeks max and this pain stays only for 20- 30 mins and calms down by itself. I have been getting this post my abdominal surgery I doubt if this could be adhesions. I am trying for conception since 2 yrs.. can I use Castrol oil pack before the ovulation.. is it safe to use heat pad on the abdominal..will there a damage to my eggs if I use head pad…since I am trying for conception..

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Yes, this pain can definitely be related to scar tissue. For women that are trying to conceive, you want to only use the castor oil pack prior to ovulation. You do not want to use it once you are fertile and any time that you could be pregnant. I suggest using it the last couple of light days of your cycle and just before your fertile window. It’s better not to use during the early part of your bleeding as it increases blood flow. I also highly suggest finding a trained therapist that can work on scar tissue and/or specializes in womb/abdominal massage.

  13. Tracy

    I just had a hysterectomy on 5/11/16 because I had a condition named adenomyosis. They removed everything except my right ovary. I had painful periods but also a lot of pain upon standing. Afterward, my surgeon told me my uterus was stuck to my bladder and intestines and abdominal wall and that is probably where a lot of my pain came from when standing. The pictures are awful, my entire belly from my navel to my c section scar to the left and right was burned up where they had to get it all of my abdominal wall. I also had a hernia in 1974 when I was 1, two c sections in 2004 and 2010, and my gallbladder removed on 2006 (lots of abdominal surgeries). I am now having twinges of pain on both sides. Not too bad but worrying that the scar tissue is starting back up. I know with each surgery it can get worse. Would castor oil packs help with this? I’m just trying to prevent getting all stuck together again.

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Wow what a journey Tracy! Yes!! Definitely castor oil packs will help prevent more scars from forming. Also some abdominal massage by someone that is familiar working with scar tissue.

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