Unless you are a medical professional, you may not have an idea as to what a hernia is and how it is caused. Maybe a friend mentioned a hernia after you complained about severe chest coughs, heartburn, or pain from lifting a heavy object, and now you are worried you may have one. This guide can help you to see if you might have developed and are suffering from a hernia– and how to find relief.
What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ grows or pushes through the muscle that surrounds and holds the organ in place. While they commonly occur in the chest cavity and the abdomen, there have been hernias that occur in different parts of the body.
There are many different types of hernias as well. An inguinal hernia is the more common hernia type. This hernia is created when an intestine pushes through a weak spot in the lower abdomen. It can occur in both men and women, though it is a more common occurrence for the male population.
Another common hernia is a hiatal hernia. This hernia can occur in both men and women as well and is typically found in those that are over the age of 50. This type of hernia can often cause heartburn, severe coughs, and even bleeding. It occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm which separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. These are often extremely uncomfortable hernias and should be treated quickly.
How does a hernia develop?
There are many ways that a hernia can develop, and each type of hernia can develop differently. More often than not the hernias are created by extreme strain on the body. Hernias are common in muscle tissue that is weak, which can develop with age, lack of exercise, or damage from an injury. Common ways for a hernia to occur is from lifting excessive weight, sudden weight gain, constipation, or improper lifting with your back instead of your legs.
Whenever extreme strain is put on a body with weakened muscle tissue, the body is at risk to develop a hernia.
How do you know if you have a hernia?
Common symptoms of a hernia can be sharp pains in the affected area (abdomen or chest) for an inguinal; acid reflux, difficulty swallowing, and pressure in the abdomen for a hiatal hernia. If you suspect that you might have a hernia- consult your physician as they can help with a diagnosis.
How do you get rid of a hernia?
When consulting your doctor, they can suggest a couple of different methods to help with relief of the symptoms caused by a hernia. The physician may prescribe medication or weight loss to help with the pain, cough or heartburn that a hernia causes.
These prescriptions do not reduce the size or make a hernia disappear- they simply become ways to treat the pain and help to prevent a hernia from increasing. In cases where the treatments aren’t working, and the hernia is growing, surgery might be the next step.
Does a hernia require surgery?
If you are suffering from a hernia it is best to see a hernia specialist that can help you come up with a treatment plan. Non-surgical treatments cannot reduce the hernia size, and if untreated it will continue to grow. If a hernia grows too large, there is a possibility that it will rupture which will result in a trip to the emergency room and immediate treatment. Having surgery before the hernia reaches this state can prevent a rupture and is beneficial to your health.
If you believe that you may have a hernia, or if you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort, you should always consult your doctor or physician. They can help in your diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan that will work for you. If you are in the San Antonio area you can give us a call at the Digestive & Liver Disease Center and we can help with any questions that you might have. Our trained staff and specialists focus on helping our patients and clients reach and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Call us at (210) 941-1662 and book a consultation appointment today