Hernia is a medical condition that you hear about, but it does not interest you enough to find out more unless you or someone you know is detected with it. It is also not a condition that is known to be life-threatening and hence not many people know exactly what it is, how it impacts life or what the procedure for hernia treatment is.
Going by the statistics, hernias are quite common but can often go undetected. Even those detected are often not given enough importance to get proper treatment. This is certainly not a good position to be in as it does not go away on its own and the problem could escalate leading to complications. Treatment can reduce the risk of such complications.
What Is Hernia?
Hernia is mostly a disorder of the abdominal muscles. When the muscles in the abdominal wall become weak, certain organs can force themselves past it and it appears as a bulge. It is painful in several cases, but it may not show any symptoms in some, letting it go undetected until a physical examination is performed.
Types of Hernia
These are the primary types of hernia.
Inguinal – These are the most common and generally found in males. It occurs in the lower abdomen, near the scrotum.
Femoral – These occur in the groin region and are more common in women. They are caused due to a weakness in the groin as a result of pregnancy and kids.
Umbilical – These result when intestines protrude through a weakness in the muscles of the umbilical area. The cause could be congenital in kids and can get resolved on its own but not in adults.
Ventral – These can appear anywhere on the ventral surface of the body.
Incisional – This can occur in a place where an incision has been made previously.
Epigastric – This generally appears above the navel.
Periumbilical – This occurs around the navel.
A hernia appears as a lump in different parts of the abdomen and may not be visible when lying down. They are discoverable when straining either when standing or when coughing or bending. The hernia may or may not be painful.
Need for Hernia Treatment
A hernia stays and grows until treated. It will not go away on its own, though the symptoms can be managed through medication. If you feel any symptoms or discomfort due to it, you must certainly see a doctor for hernia treatment. Even if it is not bothering you and you have discovered it, it should be treated. If it grows further, your life could be at risk.
Treatment for Hernia
A hernia can only be treated through surgery, though its symptoms can be controlled using a truss to support the muscles or by doing exercises to strengthen the muscles.
Types of Surgery
The surgery aims to close the hole in the abdominal wall and is usually done by using a surgical mesh to patch it. The surgery could be open or laparoscopic. In the former, an incision is made close to the location of the hernia, the organ is pushed back and the opening is stitched up, sometimes reinforced with a mesh. In the latter, a few small incisions are made and the procedure is done using a small camera and small surgical instruments. Your doctor can advise you on what kind would be best suited for you.
Recovering from the Surgery
After the surgery, you need to take precautions for recovery. You must not undertake any strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks and avoid lifting weights heavier than 5 kgs. The precautions need to be taken for a longer time in case of open surgery. After the surgery and recovery time, you can get back to your normal life. The results could be affected by your overall health and the type of hernia. There is a possibility of recurrence of the hernia depending on the age and lifestyle habits of the patient.
As is clear from the detailed description above, once discovered, a hernia must not be ignored. Only when treated, it can help you live a normal life. If not, you will always live in the fear of a possible complication. It may not happen, but it is not advisable to take such a risk.