A hernia is a physiological condition whereby an organ in your body pushes through an opening in the tissue or/and muscle holding it in place. For example, the intestines may push through a part of the abdominal wall that has become weakened.
Hernias generally develop in the abdominal area, but it can also rear its ugly head in other body parts like the groin and thigh. Though most hernias may not be fatal or life threatening, they may not go away without medical intervention. In fact, most cases hernias need proper medical treatment so that it does not lead to other health complications.
Various types of hernias
Hernias are categorized in some types:
- Inguinal hernia- This is the most commonly reported hernia. This occurs when the intestines make their way through a tear or weak spot in the inguinal canal in the lower abdominal wall of the human body. This kind of hernia is less common in women.
- Hiatal hernia-This hernia occurs when a section of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and into the chest. This can happen to people in their 50s. Many children may also have this condition which is caused by a congenital defect. A hiatal hernia can cause gastro-esophageal reflux due to the stomach’s contents leaking back into the esophagus.
- Umbilical hernia- This kind of hernia affects toddlers who are under 6 months old. The intestines protrude through the abdominal wall of babies. In most cases, the hernia sort itself out without medical treatment or intervention.
- Incisional hernia- Incisional hernia may occur after a person undergoes abdominal surgery. If the incision scar and the surrounding area have weak tissues, the intestines may push through the area.
Causes of hernias
Though hernias are generally caused due to a number of health and lifestyle factors, genetic factors cannot be ruled out. The major causes of a hernia include:
- Chronic coughing induced by cold
- Surgery or injury caused damage to body muscles
- Pregnancy related complications
- Conditions like cystic fibrosis
If you develop a hernia, you may develop a lump or bulge in the affected area which is visible. At times, you may be able to feel and touch the lump grow larger when you cough or stand up. Other major symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort, more so when you laugh or cough though you may not be laughing much!
- Burning or aching in the affected body part
- Hiatal hernia leads to acid reflux
- Chest pain
Sometimes, a hernia may exist in the body without the patient experiencing any visible symptoms.
Diagnosis of hernias
Most cases of incisional hernias are diagnosed through a medical examination. To detect a hiatal hernia, the doctor may utilize methods such as endoscopy and barium x-ray. Doctors may use ultrasound in the diagnosis of umbilical hernia.
The treatment for a hernia depends on the severity and health of the patient. Hiatal hernia can be treated with medications that mitigate the effects of acid reflex.
Sometimes, incorporating small lifestyle changes can help in reducing the symptoms of hernias. However, at times, surgery remains the only option. At Desert West Surgery, laparoscopic surgeries have become popular for treating hernias due to the shorter downtime of a more invasive surgery. Hernia repair is a simple ambulatory and minimally-invasive procedure done to correct the hernia with small incisions adjacent to it.
Post-surgery, patients need to adhere to certain dietary and lifestyle changes, as advised by the doctors. If you or somebody you know is experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, contact Desert West Surgery at 702-383-4040 or make an appointment online, where a trained surgeon will diagnose and treat your hernia and have you back on your feet in no time at all.