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What is hernia?

Hernia is a condition that happens when an internal organ protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue that encompasses it. The resulting bulge may be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object. Most hernias occur within the abdominal cavity, between the chest and the hips.

Possible Causes:

Your doctor may tell you that you have an inguinal hernia, if some tissue, such as a part of your intestines, is bulging out from a weak spot in your abdominal muscles. This condition is not always dangerous, and the surgeon will decide whether it needs to be surgically repaired or not.

While some inguinal hernias develop with no apparent cause, a few known causes are:

  • Too much pressure within the abdomen.
  • The abdominal wall has a weak spot.
  • Over-straining during bowel movements or urination.
  • Strenuous activity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing.

Risk Factors: 

The factors that increase the risk of developing a hernia of the groin are:

  • Male: men are eight times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than are women.
  • Age: muscles weaken as you age.
  • Family history.
  • Chronic cough, such as from smoking.
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Previous inguinal hernia or hernia repair.

Signs & Symptoms: 

The signs and symptoms of an inguinal hernia could be:

  • A bulge on either side of the pubic bone, which becomes more obvious when upright, or if you cough or strain.
  • A burning or aching sensation at the bulge.
  • Pain or discomfort in the groin, especially when bending over, coughing or lifting could be groin hernia symptoms.
  • A heavy or dragging sensation in your groin.
  • Weakness or pressure in your groin.
  • In some cases, pain and swelling around the testicles.

In new-borns or children, you may notice the hernia when the child is crying or coughing or straining during a bowel movement.

Diagnosis: 

A physical examination is usually sufficient for your doctor to diagnose an inguinal hernia. Your doctor may suggest an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan or MRI if needed. 

Treatment Options: 

Schedule a consultation with a general surgeon at Medcare to know the best hernia treatment for you. The surgeon will recommend surgery if the hernia is enlarging and painful. Surgery becomes important in order to prevent possible complications from the condition.

The surgeon will advise whether an open hernia repair is required, or whether a minimally invasive procedure – laparoscopic repair, also called keyhole surgery, will suit you.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • What are the different types of hernia?

    A: The most common types of hernia are inguinal (inner groin), incisional (resulting from an incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (belly button), and hiatal (upper stomach).

  • Is there any way I can prevent an inguinal hernia?

    A: Some hernias are caused by congenital defects and cannot be prevented. However, reducing the strain on your abdominal muscles and tissues can prevent others.

    • Keep your weight under control.
    • Adopt a high fibre diet to prevent constipation and straining.
    • Be careful when lifting heavy objects or avoid heavy lifting.
    • Stop smoking. Smoking often causes a chronic cough that can lead to or aggravate an inguinal hernia.
  • My son has an inguinal hernia. Will this problem disappear when he gets older?

    A: Once you know that your son has an inguinal hernia, it is not advisable to ignore this condition. If it is not treated, it could lead to a situation that blood supply to the intestine could get cut off, which is a serious problem. So discuss the best course of action with the surgeon, and if surgery is prescribed, get it done, as it will repair your son’s hernia.

  • I’m pregnant and have just learnt that I have a hernia problem. Will I need surgery immediately?

    A: Pregnant women are generally not advised to have hernia repair surgery during their pregnancy. The surgery can be performed a few months after your baby’s birth. Speak to your doctor to decide the best course of action.

  • How long does it take to recover from a hernia surgery?

    A: Recovering from a hernia surgery takes a few days. You will need some hospital stay and medications. Once your surgeon gives you the go-ahead, you will be able to resume regular activities such as work and exercise. For most people, this recovery takes a few days.

  • How serious is a hernia?

    A: A hernia can be a serious condition if left untreated. It occurs when an organ starts to push through an opening in the tissue or muscle that is holding it in place. 

    While hernias are not life-threatening, they do not go away or get better on their own. They may even require surgery to prevent complications, which can be fatal. 

    Although a hernia is a severe condition, whether or not you require treatment for it depends on its size and on the severity of the symptoms you are experiencing. It is possible to manage a hernia with lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery if required.

    Worried that you have a hernia? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist to get it checked today.

  • How do you detect a hernia?

    A: When an organ in the body pushes through the muscle or tissue holding it in place – for instance, the intestines bulging through the abdominal wall – it is called a hernia. A hernia can be of several types, and can even occur in the groins and upper thighs. In this case, it is external, pushing outwards and manifesting as a lump. 

    The internal kind, on the other hand, pushes deep below the skin through other muscles, often showing no symptoms and only presenting itself as an intestinal obstruction.

    Symptoms of external hernias include painful lumps, coughing and bowel obstructions; while internal hernia symptoms are heartburns, stomach discomfort and frequent belching.

    If you have any such symptoms, consult a Medcare specialist today.

  • Do hernias go away?

    A: Most hernias, though seldom life-threatening, do not go away by themselves. Surgery is required to remove a hernia. However, when the hernia is small, or with tolerable symptoms, treatment in the form of surgeries can be delayed for months and sometimes even years.

    In some cases, however, surgery is recommended to pre-empt serious complications such as strangulation, where the hernia cuts off blood supply to an intestinal loop or fatty tissues trapped inside.

    Other than surgery, treatment options can include lifestyle changes and medication. Some people wear corsets or a truss to hold in their hernia, but these can be harmful and are not recommended. 

    Do not ignore your hernia or treat it on your own; consult a Medcare specialist today for proper treatment.

  • What happens if a hernia is left untreated?

    A: If a hernia is left untreated, it can lead to agonising pain, making it harder to manage. It may also become life-threatening in extreme cases.

    A hernia can indeed stop growing, but it never gets smaller. Another point to keep in mind is that a part of the intestine or abdominal tissue could also get trapped. This condition, called “incarceration”, can cause severe pain, nausea, constipation, vomiting and abdominal swelling.

    Sometimes, the trapped section may get “strangulated”, i.e. the blood supply gets cut off as a result of which the intestinal tissue can get infected or die. Thus, strangulated hernias require immediate treatment, though chances of recurrence may remain.

    Looking for the best treatment for hernia? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • Do all hernias require surgery?

    A: At Medcare, we usually don't recommend immediate surgery for a hernia. We prefer to observe the condition unless it causes intense pain or limits the patient’s activities. 

    The category of your hernia also matters while recommending surgery. For instance, women are susceptible to femoral hernias, which must be treated immediately due to higher risk.

    Many experts oppose surgery if the bulge can be pushed back into the abdomen. They recommend watchful waiting. 

    However, some doctors recommend routine surgical repair, preferring it over the riskier emergency procedure that will be needed if waiting leads to strangulation of the gut, which can stop blood flow to the affected tissue. Thus, it is important to follow-up with your doctor regularly.

    Are you looking for an experienced hernia surgeon? Visit Medcare today.

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