Types and Treatments for Hernia
Hernia is a common condition. It can cause a bulge in the stomach or groin.
Although it is often painless and non-invasive, sometimes it can cause discomfort or pain.
This article will explain what a hernia looks like, their common causes, and how to treat them.
Overview: What is the difference between a hernia and a hernia
A hernia is when the peritoneum (muscular wall that holds abdominal organs in their place) becomes weak or weakened.
This defect in the peritoneum permits organs and tissue to push through or herniate, creating a bulge.
Sometimes the lump will disappear when the person lies down. Other times, it can be pushed into. It may reappear if you cough.
Types of Hernias
These are the most common areas where you can find hernias:
- Groin: A femoral hernia causes a bulge below the groin. This is more common for women. Inguinal hernias are more common in men. This is a bulge that can reach the scrotum.
- Upper stomach: A hiatal (or hiatus hernia) is when the stomach’s upper portion pushes out of the abdomen cavity into the chest cavity via an opening in diaphragm.
A bulge is caused by a periumbilical or umbilical hernia.
- Scarring from surgery: Incisional hernias can result from past abdominal surgery.
Except for an incisional hernia, which is a result of abdominal surgery complications, most cases don’t have any obvious reasons for a hernia. Hernias are more common in men than women as they are more prevalent with increasing age.
A hernia can be caused by activities or medical conditions that put pressure on the abdominal wall. These include:
Straining on the toilet due to constipation (for example, long-term)
- Abdominal fluid
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic cough
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Lifting heavy items
- Peritoneal dialysis
- Physical exertion
- Poor nutrition
- Prostate cancer
- Struggling to urinate
- Testicles undescended
A hernia can be described as a benign, painless swelling that does not present any immediate problems.
However, a hernia can cause discomfort and pain. Symptoms often get worse when you stand, strain, or lift heavy objects. Most people who experience swelling and soreness will eventually visit a doctor.
If an inguinal hernia causes acute abdominal symptoms such as:
- The bulge can’t be pulled back into the abdomen
The best course of action for a hernia that is not symptomatic is to wait and watch. However, this can be dangerous for some types of hernias, such as femoral.
40 percent of cases of bowel strangulation occur within 2 years after a diagnosis for femoral hernia.
Non-emergency surgery for hernia repair is not recommended in cases of inguinal hernia.
The American College of Surgeons, along with other medical bodies, consider elective surgery in such cases unnecessary. They recommend instead that you watchful wait.
Others recommend surgery to eliminate the chance of strangulation later in the gut. This is a condition where the blood supply to an area of tissue is cut off, and requires an emergency procedure.
According to health authorities, a routine, earlier operation is preferable to an emergency situation that could prove more dangerous.
Different types of hernia surgery
There are two main types for hernia surgery.
- The hernia can be closed using either sutures or mesh or both. A surgical wound is then closed using sutures or staples or surgical glue.
- Laparoscopic repair can be used to repeat previous operations, but is usually less expensive and more likely to cause infection.
The hernia can be repaired the same as open surgery. However, it is guided using a small camera and a tube that has a light. Another small incision is made for the insertion of surgical instruments. To help the surgeon see clearly and allow them to work more efficiently, the abdomen is inflated with gas. The entire operation is done under general anesthesia.