A hernia is the result of an internal organ making its way through a loose area in a tissue or muscle. There are several types of hernias that the average person can experience. These include hiatal hernias, umbilical hernias, femoral hernias, and inguinal hernias. You should not leave a hernia untreated, please seek medical advice from your GP if you feel you may have a hernia.
What exactly is a Hernia?
A hernia takes place after a body part or an internal organ pushes through the tissue or muscle that houses it. Hernias are known to occur most commonly between the hips and the chest.
Some of the most frequently occurring hernias are:
Inguinal Hernia: The inguinal hernia in males is a route for the blood vessels and spermatic cords that lead to the testicles. In females, the inguinal canal houses the round ligament that provides the womb with support. When an inguinal hernia occurs, it is associated with a part of one’s intestine and fatty tissues pushing into the groin at the upper end of the inner thigh. This type of hernia occurs more frequently than the others and is more common among males.
Femoral Hernia: A section of the intestine or fatty tissues pushes into the groin at the upper end of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are more prominent in older females. They do not occur as frequently as inguinal hernias
Umbilical Hernia: A section of the intestine or fatty tissue makes its way past the abdomen close to the navel.
Hiatal (hiatus) Hernia: A section of the stomach makes its way through a hole in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity.
Some types of hernias that are not so common are:
Incisional Hernia: A tissue pushes past the point of an abdominal scar. This is usually from a remote pelvic or abdominal operation.
Epigastric Hernia: Fatty tissue pushes past the abdominal area in between the lower region of the breastbone and the navel.
Spigeloan Hernia: The intestine makes its way past the abdomen. This takes place at the abdominal muscle’s side, under the navel.
Diaphragmatic Hernia: This takes place when organs located in the abdomenmake their way through a hole in the diaphragm and into the chest.
How frequently do hernias occur?
Of the various hernias which take place:
- Femoral or inguinal are about 75 -80%
- Ventral or incisional make up 2%
- Umbilical make up 3-10%.This has its effect on 10-20% of babies. A good number of them are known to close up on their own when the child is up to 5 years old.
Symptoms and Causes
Why do hernias take place?
Femoral, as well as inguinal hernias take place as a result of weakness in muscles. These muscles could have been weak since one was born or decreased in strength are as one aged and they are continually strained in areas around the groin and abdomen. Factors that could be responsible for this strain include constipation, coughing frequently, pregnancy, obesity, or physical exertion. When adults have their abdominal area strained, go through childbirth, cough heavily for a long time, or are overweight, they may develop an umbilical hernia.
The reason for hiatal hernias is not absolutely clear. However, the weakening of the diaphragm due to abdominal pressure or age could be a major factor.
When there is a hernia in the groin or abdomen, there could be a visible bulge or lump. This lump can become unnoticable when one is lying down. Also, it can be pushed back. When one strains while movement in the bowel is ongoing, while taking part in physical activities, while coughing, crying, or laughing, the lump could surface again even after its been pushed in.
Other signs that one could be dealing with a hernia are:
- Bulge or swelling in the scrotum or groin
- An increase in the pain felt around the bulge
- A feeling of pain during lifting
- An increase in the size of the bulge with time
- A dull painful feeling
- A feeling of fullness
When people are suffering from hiatal hernias, there are no visible bulges. However, they may experience symptoms such as chest pain, continuous regurgitation, issues with swallowing, indigestion, and heartburn.
Diagnosis and Tests
Physical examination can help you feel or spot a part of the body where a hernia has taken place. When looking out for inguinal hernias, a doctor examines the groin and surrounding areas. Also, they tell the person being examined to cough. Other times, CT scan and other soft-tissue imaging can help in diagnosing the condition accurately.
Treatment and Management
What is the best doctor for people looking to treat hernia?
The first step on treating hernia is to pay a visit to your GP. If a surgical process will be needed for the hernia to be fixed, your primary care giver will recommend a general surgeon.
If you suspect you may have a hernia, you should not hesitate getting help. If a hernia is not treated on time, it could become more painful and get bigger. Repairing a hernia early is generally more successful. Also, the risk involved in reduced. This is in addition to the fact that you get to recover better.
When left untreated, a hernia will most likely not get better. Also, the only way to fix it might be to go through surgery.
When adults have umbilical hernia, the situation might not get better by itself. Surgery may be required. Also, the likelihood of complications in more significantly increased.
There are three types of hernia surgery:
Open Surgery: In this type of surgery, an incision is made the point where the hernia is located. The pushed out tissue is put back into its position and the already weak muscle wall is fixed. There are times a form of mesh gets put into the area. This mesh offers additional support.
Laparoscopic Surgery: This involves repairs just like open surgery. In this method, however, there is no cut outside the abdomen. Instead, surgical equipment are inserted through small incisions and the process is carried out.
There are pros and cons of each approach. The surgeon is in the position to decide the most appropriate approach for every situation.
What Happens if the Hernia is Left Untreated?
The only time a hernia disappears by itself is in umbilical hernias in children. With time, a hernia could become bigger, become complicated and painful.
Some of the complications that could result from femoral or inguinal hernia when left untreated are;
Obstruction: A section of the intestine gets trapped in the inguinal canal. This usually causes a lump in the groin, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea.
Strangulation: A section of the intestine gets trapped and this leads to blood supply being cut off. In this situation, to ensure no death occurs, emergency surgery should be carried out in a couple of hours.
How can one prevent hernia?
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise
- Prevent constipation by feeding on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
- Lift heavy objects or weights with the right form. Also, do not lift over your limit
- When you feel ill and are coughing persistently, you should visit a doctor.
What should you expect after having surgery for a hernia?
After going through a surgical procedure, you will receive post operative instructions. These instructions include taking care of the site of incision, the right diet to feed on, and how to prevent physical strain. Hernias may take place again irrespective of repair. This could happen because of protracted healing or weakness in tissue. Obesity, as well as smoking could also cause hernia to reoccur.