A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue is squeezed through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. There are many types of hernias. Three of the most common are given below:
- The most common hernia is inguinal hernia. It occurs when there is a breakthrough in the abdominal wall from the lower part of the intestine. It usually happens in the area where the abdomen joins the thigh. Inguinal hernia is also known as groin hernia.
- The other types of hernias are umbilical hernia wherein the tissue squeezes out through the navel.
- Incisional hernia is another type of hernia in which the patient has undergone an abdominal surgery and the tissue squeezes out through the scars from the surgery.
This blog focuses on inguinal hernia but the preventive methods advised apply to all types of hernia.
Understanding Inguinal Hernia
For men, the male sex organs or the testicles are contained within the body, in the abdomen, before birth. They slowly descend and then come out. As a result, the path traversed is slightly weak. This could cause inguinal hernia in some people.
The risk of an inguinal hernia increases with strenuous activity, constipation, lifting heavy objects or any kind of strain and chronic cough. In other words, any activity that increases the pressure on the abdominal wall affects the weak points in the wall leading to a hernia.
The condition may not necessarily be dangerous or life-threatening but needs timely treatment to avoid further complications in the future.
Also Read: Hernia: Is There a Cure That Does Not Involve Surgery?
Symptoms of Hernia
- A visible bulge in the abdomen. This bulge disappears when pushed inside but reappears with any kind of movement that puts pressure on the abdomen walls, even laughing.
- The bulge is painful.
- Lifting objects increases the pain.
- This bulge grows in size when left untreated.
- Inability to pass stool – constipation.
Managing the Pain
- Making Use of Hernia Belt and Trusses: These work like binders to keep the hernia intact in the abdominal wall. It prevents the hernia from moving but at the same time this should not be considered as a long-term solution. Consulting a specialist before using these is a good idea.
- Intake of Ginger-Root: Ginger-root is seen as an effective remedy to alleviate the pain and it will also stop any gastric buildup that happens in the stomach and esophagus. Adding it to your tea or sipping on this concoction by mixing it in water has proved beneficial.
- Icing: For instant relief from pain, you can directly apply an ice pack to the affected area for reduction in bloating, inflammation and contraction. The common symptoms of inguinal hernia are redness, inflammation and swelling or pain in the abdomen or groin.
Before going ahead with any of these natural remedies on your own, consult a doctor. They know the best options for your condition and will suggest the appropriate treatment to avoid any trouble in later years. The prognosis for hernias is encouraging and therefore by consulting the best of gastroenterologists, the problem can be sorted easily.
Treatment for Hernia
- Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we might get afflicted with hernia.
- Many patients often ask the treating doctor if hernia can be cured with medication. But the answer to this is that hernia is a surgical disease.
- Medication cannot cure it.
- This is because the only way to cure hernia is to block the weak spot in the abdomen wall.
- This can only be done surgically. No medicine can block the spot or make tissue grow there.
- Earlier, surgery was performed as an open surgery.
- But nowadays, thanks to the advancements in medical sciences, surgery can be performed laparoscopically.
- Laparoscopic hernioplasty involves only 3 small incisions being made to treat hernia.
- Through these incisions, instruments will be inserted to rectify the lowering of the intestine.
- Further dissection will be done to place a mesh on the spot where the organ is pushing through to lower the risk of hernia recurrence.
- After this procedure, the risk of hernia happening once again is reduced immensely.
- The patient has to follow the doctor’s advice after surgery; for example, patients are advised to be careful till around 6 months after surgery.
- If the patient does not adhere to post-operative advice and goes about performing activities that place stress on the abdomen, then hernia can recur.
- Not having an active lifestyle and being overweight also places additional stress and contributes to recurrence.
- Conditions like long-term cough and constipation should not be ignored and treatment should be sought to protect against future hernias.
Also Read: Bulge in your navel? Could be Umbilical Hernia
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight: As the best gastroenterologists would advise, strengthening the weak abdominal muscles with exercises and yoga postures while maintaining a steady supply of oxygenated blood in the body is crucial. This prevents the displacement of abdominal organs.
- Care While Lifting: Lifting heavy weights is best avoided. Some yoga poses prove beneficial when done regularly to take the pressure off the abdominal opening.
- Including a Fiber-Rich Diet: Concentrating on the quality of food while dealing with hernia and consuming food in small quantities helps. Including nutritional foods like fresh vegetables, non-citrusy fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts help in overcoming constipation. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and fresh juices aid in avoiding heartburn and acid reflux.
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- Jan 05, 2023