How Much Do you Know About Hernia?

Hernia refers to the opened or weakened muscular structure of the abdominal wall. This problem causes bulging of that wall, which becomes more noticeable when the muscles in that area are tightened further increasing the pressure of the abdomen. Activities that cause intra-abdominal pressure can make this condition worse, which include:

- lifting heavy objects
- coughing loudly
- straining during bowl movement

Types of Hernia

- Groin or Inguinal Hernia:
The most common area of hernia is in the groin or inguinal area. Hernias in this area include subtypes like the direct, indirect and femoral hernias.

- Ventral Hernia:
Ventral hernia, on the other hand, develops in the middle part of the abdomen, often on top of the navel. This one is usually painless, unlike the one that forms in the groin.

- Umbilical Hernia:
Some hernias also occur within the navel and these are called umbilical hernias.

If hernia is left untreated, it can lead to a serious complication called incarceration. This refers to the process of trapping tissues that have been cut off with blood supply.

Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of this disease is pain or discomfort in the area where the hernia has developed. There would also be a localized swelling in the groin area or in the surface of the abdomen.

Causes
Some abdominal hernias are already present at birth. However, other cases develop much later in life. Any medical condition that increases pressure in the abdominal cavity can lead to this disease. Examples are:

- obesity
- abdominal cavity fluid
- chronic lung disease
- family history

As mentioned earlier, some activities like heavy lifting, coughing, straining during urination or bowel movement can increase likelihood of developing this disease. Your risk also increases if you have history in the family.

Treatments
A hernia usually requires surgery.

- In an open surgery, incision is made on the area of the hernia to remove the normal tissue from the margins of the weakness or opening. After this is done, the opening is closed. To ensure that the condition won't recur, the hole is closed with a screen material or plastic-like mesh. This is the more effective way of repairing the hernia.

- Another treatment method is called laparoscopic technique, where the same operation is performed through small incisions (about 0.5–1.5 cm).

Prevention
Although some of the factors that lead to hernia development are inherited, there are certain things you can do to prevent the condition from occurring or worsening.

- For one, you should stay away from all forms of heavy lifting.
- You should always ensure proper abdominal support.
- It would help to maintain proper weight through regular exercise and well balanced diet.

 


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