A hernia is an injury whereby an organ from your body pushes through the abdominal wall. Although it is not usually noticeable except for a bulge in the abdomen, it can lead to serious complications and should be treated by a doctor.
What causes a hernia
A hereditary condition is what most likely causes a hernia. They can also be caused from lifting heavy objects, pregnancy, straining with constipation and persistent coughing.
A tender feeling in the lower abdomen is an early sign.
What are the most common types?
There are many types of hernias that can affect children and adults. These are the five most common types.
- Inguinal hernia
This is the most prevalent type of hernia. It is more common in men than it is in women. This type of hernia is caused by the inguinal channels, which are passageways within the anterior abdominal wall. They are located between the abdomen (for males) and the scrotum (for females). A bulge or pain may appear around your groin. This hernia will need to be repaired by surgery.
- Epigastric hernia
It can occur anywhere along the anterior abdominal wall. This hernia can lead to serious complications if it is not treated by surgery.
- Incisional hernia
If abdominal surgery has made the abdominal muscles weaker, this can lead to a hernia. The intestines may bulge through the abdominal muscle. This will require you to have surgery again.
- Hiatal hernia
Hiatal hernia is when your stomach bulges between your diaphragm and your oesophagus. This is most common in pregnant women and older people. Heartburn and indigestion are common symptoms. Although it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes, surgery may be required.
- Umbilical hernia
This type of hernia is more common in newborns than adults, although they can also be found in adults. A bulge may appear around the belly button in babies. The bulge may disappear within the first year. If it doesn’t, then surgery may be necessary.
When is it appropriate to see a doctor for medical concerns?
Hernias don’t usually go away by themselves. As a precaution, even if the hernia is not causing any pain, it’s important to see a doctor. Depending on what type of hernia it is, your doctor might recommend surgery or a wait-and-see approach.
- Hernia surgery
Your surgeon can fix your hernia in two main ways:
- Open surgery is a procedure that involves making a larger incision to allow the surgeon access to the organ to push it back into its proper place.
- Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery is where the surgeon makes small incisions to the body and uses special surgical tools. A scope, which allows the surgeon to view inside the body, will also be used. This surgery is much less invasive and you can go home the same day or after overnight observation. A full recovery will take place within a few weeks.
Is it possible to avoid a hernia?
There is nothing you can do to stop you from becoming more susceptible. You can lower your risk by:
- A healthy weight puts less pressure on your abdominal wall.
- Quitting smoking
- Avoid straining while lifting weights or moving your bowels (or going through motion).
What is a medical emergency when a hernia becomes a hernia?
Surgery is your only option if the hernia becomes strangulated or incarcerated. A hernia that is not able to be moved back into its proper place within the body is called an incarcerated hernia. A strangulated hernia, on the other hand, is when blood supply to the protruding tissue is cut off.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
- Sudden, severe abdominal pain
- Wind or motion that is difficult to pass
- The hernia is either too firm, tender, or can’t be pulled back in
You should consult a doctor if you feel a lump or bulge in your groin or suspect that you may have a hernia.