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Hernia

Depression

Overview

A hernia is a bulging mass protruding out of the abdomen or groin region due to a weakness in the abdominal wall. The majority of the hernias are painless.  

A swelling that appears occasionally may be the only symptom. However, it is advisable to get a hernia treated in time to reduce the risk of complications. 

Types of Hernia

There are several types of Hernia including:

  • Inguinal Hernia: occurs when the bladder or the intestine protrudes through the groin, creating a weak spot. 
  • Incisional Hernia: develops at the site of previous abdominal surgery.  
  • Umbilical Hernia: Seen more often in children, this type of Hernia occurs in the naturally weakened area of the belly button where the umbilical cord was attached. 
  • Hiatal Hernia: happens when the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes. 

About The Condition

The Hernia can develop due to multiple causes. Some of the common causes for a hernia are: 

  • Lifting heavy weights 
  • Straining while urinating
  • Chronic constipation caused by fiberdeficient diet, leading to increased abdominal pressure
  • Undescended testicles
  • Abdominal fluid or a history of previous abdominal surgery

Risk factors for Hernia

Certain conditions can increase the risk of developing Hernia, including:

  • A personal or family history of hernias
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifestyle factors like smoking, obesity or poor nutrition also increase the risk of Hernia
  • Chronic cough
  • Being born with a low birth weight

Symptoms

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump in the affected area. The lump may disappear on lying down. You are more likely to feel your Hernia through touch while standing, bending down, or coughing. 

Other symptoms of Hernia include: 

  • Bump is observed in babies when they cry 
  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area 
  • Burning or aching sensation 
  • Chest pain 
  • Indigestion 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 

Diagnosis of Hernia

To diagnose your condition, the doctor will perform a physical examination and study your medical history.  

Some imaging tests can be recommended to aid in the diagnosis. These tests include: 

  • CT scan  
  • Abdominal Ultrasound  
  • MRI scan 

Treatment of Hernia

The only method to treat a hernia effectively is through surgical repair. However, medications or wearing a truss may be recommended in some cases to ease the symptoms.  

Based on your medical history and type of Hernia, your doctor may recommend one of the following surgeries to treat Hernia: 

OPEN HERNIA REPAIR

A small cut is made over the Hernia and a mesh is placed over the defect. The mesh is inserted through an incision in the abdomen or groin and sutured into position. Created with a prosthetic material, the mesh helps to strengthen the defect in the wall and prevents the chance of recurrence of the Hernia.

LAPAROSCOPIC HERNIA REPAIR

These minimal access surgeries require three or four small holes, without cutting. The mesh is secured posterior to the defect. The Hernia is then closed with the help of a camera and light, inserted through a tube. This type of surgery offers several benefits, including Minimal scarring; Reduced blood loss during surgery; Less pain following surgery; quick discharge; Faster recovery, and less chances of infection. 

Prevention

Following measures can help to reduce the risk of developing Hernia:

  • Maintain ideal body weight by following a healthy diet and daily exercise.
  • Eat enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to avoid constipation.
  • See a doctor if you are ill with persistent coughs or sneezing.
  • Use correct posture while lifting weights. Avoid lifting anything beyond your ability.
  • Avoid smoking: it can lead to coughing that triggers a hernia.

FAQs

1. What Specialists treat Hernias?

Hernias are generally diagnosed by primary care providers. If further evaluation or surgery is required, you will be referred to a general surgeon. 

2. What Medications can treat a Hernia?

There are no medications to treat a hernia. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the risk of worsening a hernia. 

3. Will I need treatment for my Hernia?

If your Hernia is not causing any severe symptoms, the doctor may recommend “watchful waiting.” However, hernias do not go away by themselves except in some very young children. If your Hernia is getting larger or causing pain, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair it. 

4. Should I wear a hernia truss?

Trusses are the devices designed to hold the bulge of an inguinal hernia. It can make you more comfortable for a while but don’t treat the Hernia. In some cases, a truss can lead to side-effects, which can worsen the Hernia. Talk to your doctor before you decide to try a hernia truss, which should only be used as a temporary measure. 

 
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