If you feel a sharp pain in your stomach or abdominal region along with discomfort in the form of heartburn, constipation or heaviness in the stomach area, then you have symptoms similar to a person suffering from Hernia.
Hernia is a condition when there has been a displacement of lower body organs through the protective muscle wall in the abdominal or chest area. As you know, the region between the last ribs in the chest and the beginning of the pelvic bone is called the stomach or abdominal cavity. This region is most susceptible to muscle wear and tear due to excessive exertion, improper lifestyle and incorrect body postures. Thus, Hernia occurs most often in this region.
What is Hernia?
Hernia is a condition of the body. This condition usually occurs in the abdominal cavity where the muscle wall is most vulnerable to wear and tear. When a person puts improper or undue stress or strain on the muscles of this abdominal wall, it creates a weakness in the muscles that can sometimes lead to a tear or hole or gap in the muscle wall. This weakening or tear in the abdominal wall resulting in sharp pain or bulging is called Hernia.
Hernia can occur in both men and women; however, studies show that men are more prone to the condition due to their excessively physical lifestyle. Hernia is most common during childhood when the muscle wall is developing and in old age when the muscle wall is weakened with time.
What are the Causes of Hernia?
There are multiple reasons. Hernia is caused by incorrect lifestyle, improper body postures, undue strain and stress experienced by the body. The following things can be stated as the common cause for Hernia –
1. Improperly lifting weights
Most people habitually lift weights with the help of their back and stomach muscles. If the weight is within reasonable weight-range then this habit is usually not a cause of concern. However, if the weight is excessive and a person continues to lift such weights over extended periods with the use of his back and stomach muscles; it can result in straining of his abdominal muscle wall, thereby, leading to Hernia.
2. Excessive Smoking Habit
We all know that smoking is injurious to health and can cause serious as well as irreparable damage to the lungs of the smoker. It can lead to serious diseases like Cancer. Most smokers face serious lung problems as a consequence of their smoking; continuous and excessive coughing, as a result of smoking, can cause Hernia.
3. Excessive Coughing or Continuous Sneezing
If a person experiences excessive coughing or continuous sneezing over a long period; there is a high chance that the bouts of cough or sneezes may lead to the weakening of the abdominal muscle wall weakening. This can effectively lead to Hernia.
4. Severe Constipation
Although constipation is a common problem worldwide, if the constipation is very severe it causes trouble during the passing of stool. The passing this hard stool with excessive force by cramping of abdominal muscles can lead to Hernia.
Excessive weight can lead to excessive pressure on the abdominal muscles. This constant state of strain on muscles due to weight can lead to Hernia while performing everyday tasks.
6. Multiple Pregnancy
When a woman is carrying more than one child, there is excessive weight placed on the abdominal muscle wall. This can lead to a certain type of Hernia.
What are the Symptoms of Hernia?
By observing the common symptoms and realizing the seriousness of their impact, we can identify whether it is Hernia or not. Let us look at some symptoms of Hernia –
Sharp pain may be experienced on standing, trying to lift things, bending or sitting in the affected area where Hernia has occurred. This pain is indicative of a weakened abdominal muscle wall under stress or strain. However, pain is not always the first symptom to present itself in cases of Hernia.
2. Bulge in the Abdomen
When an organ or part of the organ pushes through the weakened abdominal muscle wall it creates a visually detectable abdomen bulge. This bulge can be painful or painless. If a bulge emerges then the situation needs to be brought to medical attention of a doctor. Usually, a doctor prescribes surgery as soon as possible in this situation.
3. Bulge in the Groin
The muscle wall that is present in the abdominal region also extends to the groin area. Sometimes, a bulge in the groin region is observed if an organ or organ part pushes through in this region. Any such bulge requires immediate medical help, usually, resulting in surgical intervention to rectify the situation.
A person with Hernia may feel a general weakness or weakness in the affected region. This can mean that the circulation of blood is affected by the condition. Medical consultation and examination can be used to determine the true nature and cause of the weakness.
Hernia tends to make the individual feel heaviness in the affected region in all positions and postures of work. This feeling is only relieved if the individual is lying down on a flat surface on his/ her back. The horizontal position releases the stress on the weakened or bulging abdominal wall.
The affected area of Hernia experiences a tingling sensation in any vertical or horizontal position of the body. The tingling is indicative of Hernia in that particular region of the body.
Due to the pressure on the organ or organ part that has herniated an individual may feel like vomiting. However, this symptom manifests only if part of the intestine bulges out of the muscle wall. This causes a restriction in the bowel movement that may result in vomiting.
A restrictive bowel movement caused by bulging of a part of the small intestine through the abdominal muscle wall may result in pain or pressure during bowel motions. This pain or pressure causes improper bowel clearance resulting in constipation.
Improper bowel movement results in an inability to digest the consumed food. This is also a symptom of Hernia.
One or a combination of the above-stated symptoms can manifest themselves in cases of Hernia; however, the most common of them are pain and bulges in the abdomen or groin.
What are the Types of Hernia?
The types of Hernia are differentiated based on the place of occurrence.
Let us take a look at the common types of Hernia –
1. Inguinal Hernia
This occurs only in males as it is related to the inguinal canal which allows the spermatic cord and the testicles to descend to the correct place on maturation while the male child is still a fetus in the womb. This canal is supposed to close tightly after the descent. However, sometimes when an incorrect strain is placed on the weakened muscles that are supposed to protect the canal, it gets pushed through the abdominal muscle wall and protrudes in the groin region.
2. Hiatal Hernia
A diaphragm rests between the chest and the stomach. Its job is separate the chest and abdominal cavity. The esophagus passes through is diaphragm is from the chest and into the abdomen. Sometimes the stomach slides through this diaphragm and protrudes or bulges to cause Hiatal Hernia.
3. Umbilical Hernia
This Hernia is the protrusion of the residual umbilical cord in the form of belly button herniation. This is most common in babies of low birth weight, adults with obesity, and pregnant women. In all these cases, there is excessive weight-related pressure on the abdomen resulting in a Hernia.
4. Incisional Hernia
In certain cases of surgery, there may be weakened abdomen muscles leading to protrusion or herniation in the region of surgery. This is since sometimes a surgery repairs or successfully heals an individual but it is unable to repair the damage to the muscle wall. This damaged or weakened muscle wall leads to Hernia very easily.
How to Treat Hernia? (Precautions, Surgery, and Recovery Time)
The most common way to treat Hernia is surgery or operation. Surgery is done even in the case of painless hernia as a precaution towards strangulation of the protruded organ.
Certain symptoms can be observed as precautions related to Hernia. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
- bruising or bluish looking area
- excessive pain on standing
- excessive pain while bowel movement
- bulging in any area of the body
- unexplained frequent vomiting
- suddenly experiencing acid reflux
Hernia Surgery can be of two types:
- minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery
- normal invasive or open surgery
The choice of surgery depends on the severity of the herniation and the area it affects. The surgery usually has no side effects and the person heals quickly after it. This type of surgery does not take long under usual circumstances.
The recovery time is usually 2 weeks after the surgery for normal work and 6 months for any weight intensive or heavy lifting work. This gives the body enough time to heal and repair itself to prevent protrusions in the future.
These are a few post-operative precautions:
- do not ignore lung infections that can lead to excessive coughing or continuous sneezing
- do not lift weights with back and abdomen muscles, it is recommended to use bending of knees to left weights
- do not let constipation build in the stomach leading to hard stool resulting in difficulty in passing motion
- eat plenty of fibrous foods
- drink 8-10 glasses of water
Frequently Asked Questions About Hernia
1. Who Can Get Hernia?
Hernia can occur in anybody. It occurs with higher frequency in children and old people as their muscles as compromised or weakened either due to underdevelopment or wear and tear with age. In adults the following people can easily get Hernia –
- women with multiple pregnancies
- obese or overweight people
- people who do heavy lifting frequently
- people who follow incorrect exercise patterns
- people with severe coughing or excessive sneezing disorders
2. Is Hernia Life Threatening?
No, hernia is not life threatening. However, there is a fear of substantial damage caused by Hernia if the condition is ignored or not treated promptly. The damage is lesser to the muscles and more to the protruded organ or organ part as it may suffer from strangulation and cause specific as well as complicated damage.
3. Are there any Home Remedies for Hernia?
The binding or trussing of the herniated region is a home remedy often tried for Hernia. This is not a permanent solution as it does not put the protrusion back into its place; it only helps in supporting the weakened muscle wall.
To avoid Hernia the precautionary thing to do is strengthening of abdominal and back muscles by Yoga, Crunches, Lunges and other ways of exercise under a trainer’s supervision.
The following home remedies may be tried to ease some of the severe symptoms of Hernia related to constipation, acidity, or heartburn:
- sipping a glass of cold milk relieves heartburn
- eating fibrous foods help in avoiding constipation
- drinking 3-4 liters of water every day ensures bowel health
- Triphala or Isabghol solutions help in clearing the bowels without putting a strain on the muscles
- avoiding oily or fried food reduces chances of acidity
- avoiding spicy food decreases chances of heartburn or acidity
Hope this detailed article on Hernia has helped you get a detailed overview of this disease. We have tried to cover as many aspects of this subject and if you want to add more information about it, please let us know in the comments section given below. If you loved our content then please share this article with your friends on social media.
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