Hernia – Symptoms
Many times, a Hernia just shows up without any warning signs or symptoms. However, some common indicators of a hernia are:
- A noticeable bulge or lump especially while standing upright
- Chest pain, discomfort like acid reflux, gurgling, and difficulty in swallowing
- Pain or heaviness in the affected area while bending, coughing or lifting weights
- Nausea or vomiting
- A burning or aching sensation at the bulge
Hernia – Causes
The primary cause of Hernia is pressure or stress on a particular organ. At times, when pressure is exerted in the area of a weakened muscle or tissue, the organ protrudes out through the muscle/tissue, resulting in a hernia.
Some people are born with weak muscles or tissue that is underdeveloped. However, for most people, hernia is a result of aging body and weakening muscles. You also can get a hernia, or worsen an existing one by:
- Lifting heavy objects with an incorrect posture
- History of hernia in the family or in the past
- Obesity and weight issues
- Chronic cough or sneezing
- Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
Hernia – Diagnosis
Diagnosis for Hernia involves:
- Physical examination by the doctor
- CT scan or X-ray if there is a need for further assessment
- Endoscopy in case of stomach complications
Hernia – Treatment
Hernia can be treated with both surgical as well as non-surgical methods, depending on the severity of the case.
The need for a Hernia Repair Surgery can be minimised with the help of:
- Controlled diet
- Lifestyle changes
- Weight loss
If the hernia does not improve or worsens despite these measures, your doctor may prescribe surgery. In surgery, the doctor repositions the herniated tissue and repairs the damaged wall by a synthetic mesh.
A hernia surgery can be both, an Open Surgery or a Laparoscopic Surgery. A laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, needs a small incision and has aa faster recovery. An open surgery needs a bigger incision and relatively longer recovery time.
It must be noted that in babies, umbilical hernias may heal themselves within four years, making surgery unnecessary.
Hernia – Risks & Complications
Although it is possible to live with an untreated hernia, it will always pose a serious risk of strangulation, i.e. cutoff of blood supply, to the protruding organ, which can be life threatening.
Although Hernia treatment is a low risk surgery, some of the rare complications include:
- Numbness at the site of surgery
- Recurrence of hernia
- Ejection of mesh used to repair the hernia. If the patient experiences swelling and pain in the affected area, you must get in touch with a doctor immediately
Hernia – Pre Op Care
- Aspirin and similar medication must be stopped 7-14 days prior to surgery.
- Inform your doctor beforehand about the regular medication and supplements that you’re under.
- Inform your doctor if you have a cough or infection anywhere in your body within 7 days of the surgery.
- Do not eat anything after midnight on the day before the surgery.
Hernia – Post Op Care
- Your doctor may prescribe medication for pain management
- Avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects
- Avoid driving for a few days
- Take regular short walks
- Include fiber-rich foods and plenty of water in your diet to prevent constipation, reducing the chance of hernia recurrence.