What you need to know about hernia reveals information about types of hernia, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Treatment includes surgery if necessary.
A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ or body part protrudes through an opening into another area, where it should not. There are many different types of hernias that can develop. But the most common occurs when a piece of the intestine pokes through a weak area in the wall of the abdomen. The result is an abnormal bulge under the skin of the abdomen, usually near the groin or the navel.
Therefore, what you need to know about hernia, first of all, is that each type of hernia has a particular location and tends to occur for different reasons. While some hernias are present at birth, others develop in adulthood. Another important fact is that many hernias grow bigger when pressure frequently builds up in the abdomen, Such as during straining, lifting, or coughing.
This is when a piece of intestine pokes through a weakness in the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is a natural passageway through the abdominal wall near the groin. In males, the inguinal canal is the normal route for the testes to descend into the scrotum before birth. Research finding suggests inguinal hernias account for 75% of all hernias, and are 5 times more common in males than females. In addition, they usually are present at birth, but can also develop in adults.
This is when a piece of intestine pokes through the passage that normally is used by large blood vessels when they pass between the abdomen and the leg. This type of hernia causes a bulge in the upper thigh and is more common in women than men.
Epigastric or ventral hernia
This is when a piece of the intestine bulges through a weakness in abdominal muscles between the navel and breastbone. Most people with ventral hernias are men, usually between ages 20 and 50.
This is when a piece of the intestine bulges through the abdominal wall next to the navel. The area of weakness in the abdominal wall can be very small (less than half an inch). Or it can be as large as 2 inches to 3 inches. Umbilical hernias are common in newborns but may disappear gradually over time.
This looks like an umbilical hernia, but it is not present at birth. Parumbilical hernias often are caused by long-standing strain on the abdominal muscles. This usually occurs in people who are overweight. Or in women who have been pregnant many times.
This is when a piece of the intestine bulges through a weakness in the abdominal wall. And precisely in an area where surgery has been done previously.
This hernia involves the stomach rather than the intestines. A piece of the stomach slips through a normal opening in the diaphragm and passes upward into the chest.
What you need to know about hernia also is that most hernias cause a bulge under the skin. The location of this bulge depends on the specific type of hernia. For example, an inguinal hernia appears as a bulge in the groin. While an umbilical hernia appears as a bulge near the navel. Furthermore, some hernias can cause twinges of pain or a pulling sensation. While others do not cause any symptoms. Summarily hernias are usually easier to see and cause more symptoms when you cough or strain.
In cases where a portion of the intestine becomes trapped and unable to slide back into the abdomen, the hernia is considered “incarcerated”. The trapped intestine can strangulate and die because its blood supply is cut off. This causes severe pain and requires immediate treatment.
Most people discover their own hernias. However, sometimes your doctor will find a hernia as part of a routine examination. Hence, a simple physical examination will confirm the diagnosis. This is by asking you to strain or cough, which then makes the bulge easier to see or feel.
On the other hand, if you have symptoms and your doctor is unable to find it at the time of examination, a computer tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound of the abdomen may be recommended.
Most hernias stay the same or get larger over time. Umbilical hernias, however, are a special case. Many small umbilical hernias that appear before a baby is six months old will disappear before the child’s first birthday. Even larger umbilical hernias may disappear before age three or four.
What you need to know about hernia is how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Firstly, in order to prevent hernias linked with increased abdominal pressure, try to avoid activities that cause abdominal strain such as lifting heavy weights.
Secondly, losing weight is helpful if you are overweight.
Thirdly, if you frequently need to strain when you move your bowels, speak to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe stool softening medication or suggest that you modify your diet to include more high fiber foods.
The fact is not all hernias need to be repaired, but hernias that cause symptoms or become larger should be repaired by a surgeon. Hence,the technique used to repair your hernia depends on its type, size, and location.
There are many options, including standard surgery, surgery using mesh plugs or patches. As well as surgery done using a telescope through a small incision (laparoscopic surgery). If you are considering having a hernia repaired, you and your surgeon will discuss which technique is most appropriate for you.
Incarcerated or strangulated hernias
This requires immediate medical attention. Your doctor will try to push the hernia back through the hole in which it is stuck. If this cannot be done, emergency surgery may be needed. The good news is that most hernia repairs can be done on an outpatient basis, at a convenient place and time.
These usually are not treated surgically unless the hernia continues past the child’s third or fourth birthday, becomes larger, causes symptoms or strangulates. Umbilical hernias are more likely to need surgery if the opening through which the hernia passes is greater than 2 centimeters.
Hiatal hernias that are not causing symptoms of acid reflux do not need to be treated. When symptoms occur, treatment is designed to decrease reflux. Therefore, surgery may be recommended for large hiatal hernias that cause continuing symptoms. Or for hernias that become stuck inside the chest.
When To See A Doctor
Try to see your doctor right away if there is a pain at the site of a hernia. This is because it can be the first sign that a hernia is incarcerated or strangulated. See your doctor if you notice a new, painless lump or swelling in a location where hernias typically occur.
Lastly, what you need to know about hernia is that when surgery is used to repair hernias, the outlook is generally good. For example, about only 10% to 15% of patients treated return after surgery.
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