Common Symptoms of Hernia: When to seek treatment
An Overview of Hernia
A hernia is a medical condition that occurs when any organ tries to push its way through a muscle or tissue opening. For example, an inguinal hernia develops when intestinal tissue protrudes through a weak point in the abdominal muscles. This bulge that is caused as a result can be terribly painful, particularly when you try to lift something heavy, bend over, or when you cough. While hernias typically occur in the abdominal region between the hips and chest areas, they may also be found in the groin and thigh areas. Hernias are not life-threatening right away, but they are not likely to disappear by themselves; you may even need to undergo surgery to minimize the chances of complications.
Types, Causes and Risk Factors:
- Inguinal hernia: This is the most common type and develops when intestinal tissues protrude through weak spots in the abdominal walls.
- Hiatal hernia: This happens when a portion of the stomach pushes upward into your chest cavity through the diaphragm. This is commonly found in those above 50 years. In children, it is usually the result of congenital disabilities. A reason for this is gastroesophageal reflux during which stomach contents tend to go back inside the esophagus.
- An umbilical hernia happens in babies when intestines protrude through the abdominal area near their belly buttons.
- A ventral hernia occurs when tissues bulge through openings in abdominal muscles.
An inguinal hernia does not have any definite cause. But other types may occur because of pre-existing weak areas in abdominal walls, or increased pressure inside the stomach, strenuous activities, straining during urination or passing stool, chronic coughing, or even pregnancy. Inguinal hernias may also occur much later in life due to weakening muscles, aging, coughing because of excess smoking, hectic physical activity, etc.
➢ An inguinal hernia has a higher chance of occurrence in males than in females or when you age as the muscles tend to become weak.
➢ It is more common in white-skinned males.
➢ It is more likely in people who have a family history of hernias.
➢ Chronic constipation may lead to excessive straining during bowel movements.
➢ During pregnancy, abdominal muscles become weaker, and this causes the pressure inside the abdomen to build up.
➢ Chronic sneezing or coughing can cause a hernia.
➢ Low birth weight or premature birth may cause a hernia.
➢ Sometimes hernia develops when there has been an inguinal hernia in the past.
Symptoms of Hernia
➢ The most typical symptom is a lump or bulge in the area affected by the hernia. So, if you have an inguinal hernia, you will have a lump along your pubic bone, or at the meeting place of the thighs and groin. The lump tends to disappear while lying down; you will distinctly feel it when you are upright or bending down.
➢ A visible swelling under the abdominal skin or groin area is another indication.
➢ A heavy feeling inside the abdomen often accompanied by bloody stool or constipation.
➢ Discomfort in the abdominal area when bending over or lifting a heavy object.
➢ Heartburn and pain in the upper abdomen, chest pains, and trouble swallowing may be symptoms of hiatal hernia.
➢ For strangulated hernia, the symptoms are fever, sudden pains that quickly escalate, nausea and vomiting, and inability to pass gas or move bowels.
When to visit a specialist
If you notice hernia symptoms, you should consult a doctor. In case you cannot push the hernia backward, you must get help at once. This may be a sign of incarcerated hernia, leading to organ strangulation if left untreated. When you suspect you have a hernia or know that you have one that’s accompanied by vomiting or nausea, it is possible that you have an obstruction. You must not wait but get checked by a doctor right away.
A Brief Understanding Of Treatment Options
- Perhaps the best way to treat this condition is through surgery. But, how severe your symptoms are, and how big the hernia is, are factors that the doctor will consider when deciding on surgery.
- The doctor may decide to wait and watch the hernia, monitoring it for possible complications.
- Sometimes you can be asked to wear a truss that can ease the symptoms; this refers to a supportive garment holding the hernia in its place. However, you need to make sure the truss fits you properly.
- Over-the-counter drugs and prescription medicines like antacids, proton pump inhibitors and H-2 receptor blockers for reducing stomach pains can help to alleviate the symptoms.
- Home remedies cannot cure hernia altogether, but they can definitely ease the symptoms. When you improve your fiber intake by consuming fruits, veggies, and whole grains, it can lessen constipation and this means reduced strains during bowel movements.
- It is best to avoid large or heavy meals. Also, you shouldn’t bend down or lie down immediately after eating.
- You must stay away from spicy foods that can cause acid reflux.
- Working out may help to make the muscles around your hernia stronger. Exercises will also aid weight loss, and this alleviates hernia symptoms. However, you cannot engage in weight lifting exercises or abdomen-straining workouts.