Hernia - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Hernia means when an organ or tissue in your body protrudes through a weak spot in your muscles. Most hernias are not dangerous but, sometimes, complications may arise, and surgery may be required to fix them.


Types of hernia:

Hernia can be divided into four different types on the basis of their location. Most hernias are located near the abdomen and thighs. 


1.Umbilical hernia: This is when fatty tissue or organ protrudes near the umbilicus (belly button).


2.Inguinal hernia: Inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia. The inguinal canal is a passage from which reproductive structures pass in men and women. This area is weak and more vulnerable to a hernia. Inguinal hernia is eight times more common in males than females.


3.Femoral hernia: In this type of hernia, part of the intestine or fatty tissue bulges through the femoral canal, part on the top of your thigh. It is more common in women in old age.


4.Hiatal hernia: This is when your stomach bulges through your diaphragm into the chest cavity. Since the hernia is not on the abdominal wall, there is no visible bulge for this type of hernia.


What causes a hernia?


Hernias occur due to the weakening of muscles. It could be due to:


  • Physical activity

  • Pregnancy

  • Chronic constipation

  • Obesity

  • Long term cough

  • Giving birth


Certain factors increase the risk of getting a hernia such as :


  • Genetics

  • Increased age

  • Male gender


Symptoms of hernia:

Hernia represents a visible bulge on the abdominal wall or thigh. This bulge may be pushed back in and can reappear when you strain your muscles during activities like:


  • Laughing

  • Crying

  • Coughing

  • Physical activity


Other symptoms of hernia include:


  • Pain at the site of the bulge

  • Feeling of pressure in the groin

  • Constant dull aching sensation

  • Increase in the size of the bulge

  • Pain when coughing, lifting, or straining the muscles

  • A dragging sensation at the affected site



Complications of hernia:

 

Complications of a hernia include:


-Obstruction: Part of your bowel such as the intestine may get trapped in the hernia and cause bowel obstruction. It blocks the normal movement of the food down the intestine.


-Strangulation: This means that the intestine is entrapped in the hernia in such a way that its blood supply is cut off. It can cause the death of the affected tissue. A strangulated hernia is life-threatening and requires immediate surgery.


The signs and symptoms of a complicated hernia include:


  • Nausea

  • vomiting 

  • Fever

  • Intense pain that arises suddenly

  • Inability to pass gas

  • A hernia that looks red or purplish


Treatment of hernia:


Hernias usually do not get better with time, and surgery is the only way to get a hernia repaired. Your doctor will advise you if you need surgery or not. 


Prevention of hernia:


A hernia can be prevented by the following strategies:


  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat food rich in fiber to avoid constipation

  • Don’t lift very heavy objects

  • When lifting weights, make sure to use the correct technique

  • Avoid anything that triggers cough, such as cigarette smoking


If you have chronic cough or constipation, consult your doctor to get it treated


Conclusion:

Timely treatment of hernia can prevent life-threatening complications such as strangulation and obstruction. With surgery, a hernia can be repaired. If you notice any bulge on your abdomen or thighs, get it checked by a doctor.


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