Hernia

A hernia  may not be life-threatening immediately but can take its course if left untreated for some time. In India, the chances of Hernia are 25% in males and 10-12% in any adult population.  But what actually a Hernia is?

When an internal organ forces itself through a muscle or tissue surrounding and keeping it in place, a hernia occurs. A common example can be the intestines squeezing through a weak spot in the abdominal wall.

Types

The most common types of hernia include,

  1. Inguinal hernia- Here, the intestines push through a tear in your lower abdominal wall, often in the groin.
  2. Hiatal hernia- In this, a part of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm into your chest cavity.
  3. Umbilical hernia- Mostly found in children and babies, it occurs when the intestines bulge near the belly button. Adults can also have this hernia due to repeated abdominal strain in obesity, abdomen fluid, or pregnancy.
  4. Ventral hernia- It happens when tissue protrudes through an opening in the muscles of your abdomen. Ventral hernias can also occur at the site of a surgical incision, therefore, known as an incisional hernia.

Symptoms

The most common symptom involves a bulge or protrusion in the affected area. For instance, you may notice a lump on your pubic bone. You may feel your hernia through touch or during daily schedule work such as bending down or coughing. Discomfort or pain in the area around the lump may also be present. There can also be specific symptoms like heartburn, trouble swallowing and chest pain.

However, in a few cases, hernias may have no symptoms and you may only know during a routine medical exam or any unrelated problems.

Causes

Muscle weakness and strain are two vital factors for causing a hernia. The factors may occur due to

  1. a congenital condition, that is, present from birth,
  2. aging,
  3. damage from an injury or surgery,
  4. strenuous exercise or heavy weight lifting,
  5. chronic coughing or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  6. pregnancy,
  7. constipation,
  8. being overweight or having obesity,
  9. Excess abdominal fluid and
  10. hereditary.

Treatment

Surgery is the only way to treat hernia effectively. However, it depends on the size and severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may simply monitor your hernia for any complications and may prescribe you to wear a truss, an undergarment to hold the hernia in place. Sometimes, over-the-counter drugs and medicines are prescribed to relieve your discomfort and improve symptoms. Both open and laparoscopic surgeries are done routinely and the expertise of your surgeon and patient’s health determine what’s best suited for you.

Recovery

The most significant part of recovery starts with recognizing symptoms of a hernia and seeing a doctor immediately. An untreated hernia can cause life-threatening complications. A doctor can evaluate your hernia and determine the best treatment option.

Although early medical care and lifestyle changes can minimize symptoms, surgery is the only way to effectively treat a hernia. There are different hernia repair surgeries, and your doctor can advice the right one for your condition.

In a Nutshell

The foremost thing to keep in mind is hernia is easily treatable. With early detection and the right medical and surgical care, you can observe a complete recovery and get back to your normal life. All you need is the right approach and a good doctor!!

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