A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body, such as an organ or any fatty tissue, pushes or spills out through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or tissue wall. There are many types of hernias.
The most common types of hernia include:
Inguinal hernia (inner groin): This is the most common type of hernia, especially among men, and occurs when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal. This type of hernia is associated with ageing and occurs if the abdomen is repeatedly strained.
In men, the inguinal canal area is where the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen to the scrotum. This cord holds up the testicles.
In women, the inguinal canal contains a ligament that holds the uterus in position.
Incisional hernia (resulting from an incision): This condition may occur to some people who have undergone abdominal surgery. The intestines may push through the incision scar or the surrounding, weak tissue.
Femoral hernia (outer groin), umbilical (belly button): This condition tends to occur more in women than men. It occurs when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel spills through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. Like inguinal hernia this type of hernia is associated with ageing, and occurs due to repeated strain on the abdomen.
Hiatal hernia (upper stomach): This condition is most common in people over 50 years of age and occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. Hiatal hernias can cause gastroesophageal reflux, which is when the stomach contents leak back into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the heart.
Umbilical hernia: This type of hernia occurs when fatty tissue or a part of the bowel pokes through the abdomen near the belly button.
This condition can occur in infants if the opening in the abdomen through which the umbilical cord passes does not seal properly after birth.Adults are affected by this condition if there is repeated strain on the abdomen.
A few other less common types of hernias are epigastric hernias, spigelian hernias, and diaphragmatic hernias, muscle hernias
Common symptoms of an inguinal hernia include:
pain or discomfort in the affected area (usually the lower abdomen), especially when bending over, coughing, or lifting
weakness, pressure, or a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen
a burning, gurgling, or aching sensation at the site of the bulge
Other symptoms of a hiatal hernia include:
acid reflux, which is when stomach acid moves backward into the esophagus causing a burning sensation
In some cases, hernias have no symptoms. You may not know you have a hernia unless it shows up during a routine physical or a medical exam for an unrelated problem.
Common causes of muscle weakness which can ultimately lead to hernia include:
failure of the abdominal wall to close properly in the womb, which is a congenital defect
damage from injury or surgery
Factors that strain your body and may cause a hernia, especially if your muscles are weak, include:
being pregnant, which puts pressure on your abdomen
surgery which can weaken muscles
fluid in the abdomen
being constipated, causing you to strain while having a bowel movement
lifting heavy weights
obesity or sudden weight gain
persistent coughing or sneezing
Inguinal or incisional hernias are usually diagnosed through a physical examination. Your doctor may feel for a bulge in your abdomen or groin that gets larger when you stand, cough, or strain.
If you have a hiatal hernia, your doctor may diagnose it with a barium X-ray or endoscopy.
A barium X-ray is a series of X-ray pictures of your digestive tract. The pictures are recorded after you’ve finished drinking a liquid solution containing barium, which shows up well on the X-ray images.
An endoscopy involves threading a small camera attached to a tube down your throat and into your esophagus and stomach.
These tests both allow your doctor to see the internal location of your stomach.
If your child has an umbilical hernia, your doctor may perform an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the structures inside the body.
Whether or not you need treatment depends on the size of your hernia and the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may simply monitor your hernia for possible complications. Treatment options for a hernia include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.
Dietary changes can often treat the symptoms of a hiatal hernia, but won’t make the hernia go away. Avoid large or heavy meals, don’t lie down or bend over after a meal, and keep your body weight in a healthy range.
Certain exercises may help strengthen the muscles around the hernia site, which may reduce some symptoms. However, exercises done improperly can increase pressure at that area and may actually cause the hernia to bulge more. It’s best to discuss what exercises to do and not do with your doctor or physical therapist.
If these changes don’t eliminate your discomfort, you may need surgery to correct the hernia. You can also improve symptoms by avoiding foods that cause acid reflux or heartburn, such as spicy foods and tomato-based foods. Additionally, you can avoid acid reflux by losing weight and giving up cigarettes.
If you have a hiatal hernia, over-the-counter and prescription medications that reduce stomach acid can relieve your discomfort and improve symptoms. These include antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.
If your hernia is growing larger or causing pain, your doctor may decide it’s best to operate. Your doctor may repair your hernia by sewing the hole in the abdominal wall closed during surgery. This is most commonly done by patching the hole with surgical mesh.
At Panacea clinic we use novel technique for hernai repair called the 3D hernia repair for umbilical and inguinal hernias and pre-peritoneal Octomesh repair for large ventral hernias. This new technique is developed by Dr. John Murphy of USA who is an ex-president of American hernia society. Its a tention free hernia repair in which the mesh does not need to be stiched inside thus does not have the complications related with a traditional hernioplasty. Moreover there is hardly any chance of recurrence.