Hernia

An abdominal hernia occurs when an organ or other piece of tissue protrudes through a weakening in one of the muscle walls that enclose the abdominal cavity. The abdominal wall is made up of layers of different muscles and tissues. Weak spots may develop in these layers to allow contents of the abdominal cavity to protrude or herniated.

A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall.

Types of Hernia

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Hernias may be present at birth (congenital)
  • They may develop at any time thereafter (acquired).

Causes of Hernia

  • Obesity
  • heavy lifting
  • coughing
  • straining during a bowel movement or urination,
  • chronic lung disease
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity.
  • A family history
  • Tumors
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • failure of the abdominal wall to close properly in the womb which is a congenital defect

The pressure may increase due to lifting excess weight, straining to have a bowel movement or urinate, or from trauma to the abdomen. Pregnancy or excess abdominal weight and girth are also factors that can lead to a hernia

Symptoms of Hernia

Reducible hernia

  • It may appear as a new lump in the groin or other abdominal area.
  • It may ache but is not tender when touched.
  • Sometimes pain precedes the discovery of the lump.
  • weakness, pressure or a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen

Irreducible hernia

  • It may be an occasionally painful enlargement of a previously reducible hernia that cannot be returned into the abdominal cavity on its own or when you push it.
  • Some may be chronic (occur over a long term) without pain.
  • An irreducible hernia is also known as an incarcerated hernia.

Strangulated hernia

  • This is an irreducible hernia in which the entrapped intestine has its blood supply cut off.
  • Pain is always present, followed quickly by tenderness and sometimes symptoms of bowel obstruction (nausea and vomiting).

Treatment

  • Treatment options for a hernia include lifestyle changes
  •  Medication
  •  surgery.

Prevention

  • not smoking
  • avoiding straining during bowel movements or urination
  • lifting objects with your knees and not your back
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • seeing your doctor when you’re sick to avoid developing a persistent cough
  • maintaining a healthy body weight

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