What is Hernia?
The peritoneum is a thin membrane that covers the abdomen and pelvic muscles. It acts as a wall that keeps the abdominal organs in its position. A hernia happens when an organ or a tissue exits through the wall and forms a bulge. It can happen due to peritoneum becoming weak or has a hole in it. The lump can get pushed back when in lying position and may reappear while coughing or doing some physical activity.There are various types of hernia and common among them are the:
- Inguinal or the inner groin hernia where the intestine protrudes
- Umbilical or the belly button hernia common children
- Hiatal or the upper stomach hernia occurs when the upper stomach comes out through the hiatus.
- Femoral of the outer groin hernia is common among women especially those who are overweight or pregnant.
- Incisional hernia due to incision may happen after abdominal surgery
Symptoms of Hernia
A hernia is usually painless despite the swelling and there is no need for medical attention immediately. Most of the hernia types have no Symptoms. It is discovered only during a medical exam or a physical checkup for some other unrelated health issues.
- Sometimes a hernia may lead to pain and discomfort and it worsens when lifting something heavy or even standing. When the pain increases, people may have to visit a hernia doctor
- If the hernia type is an inguinal hernia, the stomach is obstructed and may have Symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and pain. In this type of hernia, the lump cannot be pushed back.
- Symptoms of Hiatal hernia are heartburn, acid reflux, and is caused by stomach acid.
Who is at Risk of Hernia?
Based on the type, the hernia Risk Factors are:
- Incisional hernia: People who have undergone abdominal surgery are at a higher Risk of this condition. Factors that stress the tissues before it heals are becoming overweight, doing strenuous activities, get pregnant
- Inguinal hernia: Smokers, chronic constipation patients, adults over the age of 50, people with previous cases of inguinal hernia, pregnancy. Kids who were born prematurely or with low-weight are also at Risk.
- Umbilical hernia: Common in premature babies and those with low birth-weight. It is also common in women who are overweight and have had multiple pregnancies.
- Hiatal hernia: People aged over 50 years, are obese.
People with a family history of hernias are also at Risk of hernia occurring.
What are the Causes of Hernia?
A hernia is caused due to muscle weakness and can take time to develop or happen suddenly. The Risk of developing this increases as you age and is found in men more than women. It can be present at birth or can happen in children with weak abdominal muscles.Any activity or health issues that create pressure on the peritoneum can lead to a hernia.Some of the hernia Causes include:
- Persistent cough
- Constipation and/or straining in the loo
- Enlargement of the prostate
- Cystic fibrosis
- Lifting heavy objects or extreme physical exertion
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Straining while urinating
- Smoking cigarettes or tobacco
- Lack of proper nutrition
How to Diagnose Hernia?
The hernia Diagnosis usually starts with a discussion on the Symptoms followed by family history. External hernias are usually found during a physical exam at the clinic if it is not visible. More often than not, a hernia will form a bulge that is visible to the naked eye. For men undergoing a physical exam, the doctor will feel the testicle and groin for possible inguinal hernia Symptoms. You may also do some activities like coughing to make the hernia appear if the doctor suspects that you have any of the various hernia types you will be asked to undergo imaging tests like:
- Ultrasound: It creates images of the pelvic and the abdomen. This is recommended if you are a woman to rule out fibroids or cysts. Men are asked to undergo this hernia test if the doctor suspects scrotal or inguinal hernia.
- CT scan: If you have symptoms of pain and swelling in the abdomen, your doctor will ask for this test to determine if other conditions are causing this issue. It uses X-rays combined with computer technology to create images of your abdominal organs.
- MRI: This test is recommended if pain increases due to physical activity. It can detect any tears in the muscles of the abdomen even with no visible bulge. It uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create abdominal images. This test is also ordered when your doctor feels that the hernia has developed complications.
Specific tests are ordered in case the doctor suspects a hiatal hernia. These include:
- Barium X-ray: It is an x-ray of the digestive tract and images are recorded after drinking a barium solution that shows on the images.
- Endoscopy: A tube is sent through the tube into the esophagus and stomach attaching a camera. That gives a clear view of the internal organs and what is happening.
How is Hernia Treated?
Hernia cure without Symptoms does not require surgery and usually, doctors follow a wait and watch approach.
- Femoral hernias as a high percentage of people suffer from bowel strangulation and hence may need surgery.
- The most effective way to treat hernias is through surgery. More often than not it is elective surgery and the doctor recommends it only when the symptoms become severe or the size of the lump increases.
- A general surgeon may repair the hernia if there is a Risk of gut strangulation and cutting off the blood supply.
- In some cases, a truss is used to hold the hernia in its location. The doctor inspects the truss is snugly fit.
- Prescription medications are provided for hiatal hernia to reduce Symptoms and discomfort.
Consult doctor online at Care.fit hernia specialist doctor if you suspect you have a hernia. They are experts in this field and will provide the best possible hernia Treatment based on the type. What’s more, they are available online!
How can Hernia be Prevented?
Though some types of hernia are inherited or caused due to previous surgery it can be Prevented by:
- Reducing the strain on your body after an abdomen surgery
- Maintaining healthy body weight and consuming fibrous food
- Consulting a doctor for an incessant cough
- Quitting smoking
- Not straining while urinating or during bowel movement
- Indulging in regular physical activity and concentrating on building and strengthening the abdominal muscles.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights or following the right posture while doing so. One tip when you are lifting heavy objects is that you should bend your knees and pick it up and not by lifting it to your waist from ground.