A hernia is a broad term that describes a bulge or protrusion of body tissue or organ through a weakened spot in the muscles that usually hold it in place.
If you find a soft lump in the stomach or groin or have a scar from previous surgery, you might have a hernia. When you press on the lump or lie down, it will disappear. It can be painful, particularly when coughing, bending over, or lifting heavy objects.
To understand the condition better, consider a barrel with a hole in the side and a balloon inside that has been blown up. A portion of the inflated balloon will protrude from the cavity. The balloon is like the tissues of the abdomen bulging through a hernia as it goes through the opening.
Abdominal hernias: Occurrence and Types
An abdominal hernia affects about 10% of the population at some point in their lives. Infants, youngsters, and adults, both males and females, may develop hernias. However, the prevalence of abdominal hernias is found to be more in males.
Types of hernia
- Inguinal hernia
The most common form of groin hernia is an inguinal hernia, which is more common in men but can also affect women.
An inguinal hernia occurs when a part of the intestine or other fatty tissue pushes through the muscle in the groin region at the top of the inner thigh. An inguinal hernia is not always harmful. However, it does not improve on its own. If left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications. A doctor can prescribe surgery to treat a painful or enlarging inguinal hernia.
The following are the common signs and symptoms of an inguinal hernia:
- A burning sensation can be felt around the bulge.
- The bulge on either side of the pubic bone becomes noticeable on coughing or straining.
- Heavy pain in the groin region, especially when bent over, coughing, or lifting weights
- Intense pain and swelling around the testicles when the protruding intestine descends into the scrotum
- Nausea, vomiting, and fever
- Pain that comes on suddenly and gets worse quickly
- Inability to pass gas or transfer the bowels
2. Femoral hernia
Femoral hernias are similar to inguinal hernias, but they are much less common and often affect women.
This type of hernia is caused by overstretching of the femoral canal muscles. A few of the factors that cause overstretching of the muscles are described below:
- Chronic constipation
- Heavy Lifting
- Being overweight
- Urination problems
- Chronic coughing
3. Umbilical hernia (navel hernia)
When part of the intestine or fatty tissue pushes through the abdominal muscle in the navel, it’s called an umbilical hernia (near the belly button). An umbilical hernia is very common in infants and young children, but it can also affect adults. It becomes more noticeable when a person laughs or screams. It is usually caused by the umbilical cord area not being fully closed off after birth.
Here are a few risk factors for umbilical hernia:
- Multiple pregnancies throughout pregnancy (Twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
- Pregnancies regularly
- Suffering from a heavy cough
- Abdominal surgery
- Inflammation of the abdominal cavity due to an excess of fluid
4. Hiatal hernia
In this condition, the upper part of the stomach (called the fundus) protrudes the diaphragm which is a muscular partition that separates the abdomen from the chest cavity. The risk factors for hiatal hernia are the same as umbilical hernia Hiatal hernia can be very dangerous as it tends to hamper blood circulation to the stomach.
Thus, it is necessary to look out for the early symptoms of hiatal hernia:
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in vomit
- Acid reflux
- Passing of black stools
Get in touch with a doctor if/when you notice any such abnormal symptoms.
5. Epigastric hernia
An epigastric hernia a type of abdominal wall hernia that occurs in the epigastric zone. It’s located just above the belly button and below the rib cage’s sternum. This is most common when the tissues in the abdominal wall do not fully close during development. Adults and children (including infants) both suffer from epigastric hernias. This type of hernia accounts for around 2% to 3% of all abdominal hernias.
6. Incisional hernia
An incisional hernia is a form of hernia that develops near or at the surgical incisions made during previous abdominal surgeries. It happens when an incision made to access an internal organ, such as the appendix or the intestine, or other tissues, fails to heal properly over time. As compared to other forms of hernias, incisional hernias are more common. It occurs in around 33% of people who have abdominal surgery.
The weakness of abdominal muscles can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Being overweight
- Using steroid medications
- Engaging in exerting physical activities before complete recovery from a surgery
- A wound infection from surgery
- Had several surgeries with the same incision.
- Increased abdominal pressure in any way until the surgical incision heals fully
If you find yourself to be struggling with the symptoms of any type of hernia mentioned above, immediately reach a specialist near you. Hernias do not heal on their own completely and require proper surgical treatment. You should not delay in seeking medical attention for a hernia as it can put you in danger in the long run. Long-standing conditions of hernia can cause life-threatening complications.
There are two types of surgeries for hernia repair- open and laparoscopic surgery. The latter is an advanced simplified procedure that is more effective in curing the bulging organ. Nowadays, surgeons prefer laparoscopic hernia treatment as it offers various advantages over conventional open procedures.
The laparoscopic hernia treatment offers the following advantages:
- Requires only minimal access to the body to treat the affected area
- Camera fitted laparoscopic gives a clearer view of the internal organs
- Only a few minor incisions are carried out on the abdomen
- 3D surgical mesh is used to retain the organ in its place
- The chances of infections and other postoperative complications are less than open surgery.
- Healing is faster and the patient can resume normal activities within a week
These insights on laparoscopic surgery will help you in making the right treatment choice.
Where can you get the laparoscopic hernia operation?
You can contact nearby clinics to know more about this advanced treatment. You should contact multispeciality clinics that house several laparoscopic surgeons in
30 plus cities. You can easily book a consultation with one of their hernia specialists.
Having the right information can help you identify the symptoms of hernia without delay. If you notice the symptoms of any type of hernia, consult an experienced doctor at the earliest for a proper diagnosis. Also, make sure that you choose the right treatment procedure and the right healthcare provider to ensure a seamless and complication-free surgery.