What is a Hernia?
A hernia happens whenever an internal body part presses into a location that it should not. Though hernias can happen anywhere, mostly they occur in the abdominal area. When this happens, the lining of the abdomen ruptures, and a part of the soft tissue underneath– normally the intestinal tract– will protrude through.
This can either be triggered by regular wear and tear and physical stress (an acquired hernia), or by a weakness that has been there since birth (a congenital hernia). Either way, the hernia can get bigger and more uncomfortable gradually and also when performing strenuous exercise.
Conditions and Symptoms of a Hernia
Frequently, the hernia will be obvious. You might discover a bulge, discomfort, or swelling in the abdomen, or feel pain when lifting something, bending, or coughing. Discomfort can vary from sharp and abrupt to a dull pain, and will normally happen at the end of the day or after periods of prolonged standing. Sometimes, however, the hernia does not show any signs, and will only be discovered by your medical professional during a typical examination.
Hernia Surgery and Treatment
If the hernia is not very big and you are not in pain, your physician may want to wait and monitor it closely before deciding on a treatment. If your hernia is getting larger and/or painful, it must be treated quickly in order to avoid complications.
Surgery can be done in a variety of ways. The hernia can be fixed using a mesh that is surgically placed on the tear and supported by the surrounding tissue. Furthermore, a mesh plug can be used to fill the hole that has formed in the abdomen. Another device utilizes a mesh on both sides (front and back) of the stomach wall, supported in the center by a mesh bridge that rests inside the hole in the abdomen. This surgical treatment can be done utilizing laparoscopic surgery which enables your surgeon to fix your hernia without opening up your abdomen, which is more invasive and requires more time to recover and causes more scarring.
Getting Ready for Hernia Surgery
- Your Physician will inform you which of your regular prescriptions you can still take the before the procedure.
- You probably will be asked to not eat or drink anything after a certain time the night before.
- They may want you to take a laxative before hand to make sure your bowels are empty.
After the Hernia Surgery
- Many hernia patients can leave the medical facility whenever they can eat, drink, use the restroom, and walk normally. You will probably be given a prescription for some pain medicines to take home with you.
- When you get back home, you will need to try not to do too much and abstain from lifting anything heavy. Once you feel better, light physical activity like walking can help with blood flow and help with the healing process.
- Make sure to start consuming lots of fiber and liquids. If you get constipated, you may want to see if it’s ok to take a stool softener.
- If you have an office type job, you can probably get back to work within a couple of days. If your job is more physically demanding, your doctor may not want you to go back for two weeks or more.