Incarcerated Hernia is one of those commonly found complications in hernia patients. Its diagnosis and treatment are an urgent concern. Along with complications, its lack of awareness in patients and ignoring its treatment can risk forward and it can develop further as a strangulated hernia. 

What is an Incarcerated Hernia 

In simple terms, an incarcerated hernia is a medical condition when a patient’s abdomen tissue or intestine tissue is found trapped or blocked in the sac of the hernia. 

This condition creates multiple body functions like regular bowel movements to happen properly and the contents when trapped can develop into a strangulated hernia. 

Incarcerated Hernia in Men 

A hernia is more often found in men. It is generally found in the groin area or scrotum or lower abdomen. In this condition, the male patient experiences bowel movement obstruction, pain, discomfort, vomiting, and the serious situation of strangulation of hernia. 

Causes of Incarcerated Hernia 

Hernia developing into an incarcerated hernia usually occurs due to one or the other of these listed causes. 

  • 1. Chronic vomiting A person with an incarcerated hernia can be affected due to their excessive amount of vomiting. 
  • 2. Excessive pressure or straining When the patient knows or unknowingly puts a lot of pressure on their already weak abdomen wall or muscles, they are developing medical ailments like an incarcerated hernia. 
  • 3. Chronic constipation Doubtlessly, one of the major reasons behind hernia developing into incarceration or strangulation is constipation. This situation shows that the patent is not able to have regular bowel movements due to the hard stools. 
  • 4. Chronic coughing or sneezing As much as pressure is put in due to constipation, an equally incarcerated hernia can be caused due to chronic sneezing or coughing. 
  • 5. Heavy lifting It is generally found in males who regularly do heavy lifting activities. Due to this pressure is continuously put on the abdomen area and results in incarcerated hernia formation. 
  • 6. Obesity When a person has imbalanced weight gain or weight loss. It can cause various medical ailments. One of these can be an incarcerated hernia where the blood is clotted and obstructs the functioning of different parts of the abdomen area. 
  • 7. Past injuries or trauma In some cases, past injuries especially to the abdomen part of the body can also trigger and cause incarcerated hernia.

Symptoms of Incarcerated Hernia 

The signs to identify the incarcerated hernia are listed below. If the patient can relate to any of these symptoms, reach out to the concerned doctor for immediate treatment. 

  • 1. Bulge or lump 
  • 2. Enlargement of the already existing hernia 
  • 3. Swelling 
  • 4. Recurrence of irreducible
  • 5. Redness or itchiness 
  • 6. Irritation
  • 7. Bowel movement obstruction 
  • 8. Severe Pain and Discomfort 
  • 9. Inability passing gas 
  • 10. Vomiting
  • 11. Nausea

Incarcerated Hernia Diagnosis 

The quick way to diagnose incarcerated hernia or any other hernia is by the concerned doctor properly following up these given steps for accurate diagnosis. 

  • 1. Patient’s medical history Firstly, the doctor will start by learning about the patient’s details and medical history. 
  • 2. Physical examination Next, the doctor will ask the patient to cough a couple of times, to ensure the accurate sight of the incarcerated hernia and will look into the affected area. 
  • 3. Images test Finally, some image-based tests such as Ultrasound and a CT scan in some cases are performed. 

Incarcerated Hernia Treatment 

There are mainly two significant approaches to the treatment of Incarcerated hernia. These are manual reduction and Surgical techniques. 

Firstly, an acute incarcerated hernia can be pulled back manually but in those situations where the incarcerated hernia has grown severe and are close to developing into a strangulated hernia, the surgeon calls for surgical treatment. 

Incarcerated hernia in comparison to other hernia types

Incarcerated hernia vs reducible hernia The term incarcerated hernia is also known as an irreducible hernia. That is, a reducible hernia means when the hernia can be completely pushed back inside. 

Whereas, the irreducible hernia is the one where the hernia contents become completely trapped and are not able to be reduced fully. 

Incarcerated hernia vs strangulated hernia The main difference is seen is that an incarcerated hernia is when the hernia contents are irreducible. Whereas, a strangulated hernia is the forming of blood clots due to compromised blood flow. 

Also, incarceration is less severe than a strangulated hernia. Whereas, a strangulated hernia is a life-threatening condition. 

What happens if a hernia is left untreated? 

An incarcerated hernia is left untreated or ignored for a long time. It can become more severe such as a strangulated hernia. 

It isn’t necessarily a serious condition at first, but if it gets strangulated it causes life-threatening risks and can only be treated through surgery. 

How is a serious incarcerated hernia?

Patients found with incarcerated hernia generally have the risks of the formation of blood clots and hernia developing into a strangulated hernia condition. Therefore, without a doubt, the incarcerated hernia is an emergency case and can lead to a life-threatening situation if the required action is not taken within time. 

When to See a Doctor 

An incarcerated hernia is an absolute case of emergency. No matter if it is initially growing or has reached a severe stage. 

The patient must immediately consult the concerned doctor to avoid any more risks and complications. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does it mean if a hernia is incarcerated?

The condition where the contents of a hernia get stuck in the weak part of the abdomen wall and are not able to be pushed back inside completely, this situation is medically termed an incarcerated hernia. 

Q. Is an incarcerated hernia serious?

An incarcerated hernia is a medical emergency. Blood clots and bowel movement obstruction are common with it. 

If left untreated it can cause strangulation of the hernia, which is a life-threatening complication. 

Therefore, the action taken to cure it should be immediate, done under medical assistance, and only by a specialist surgeon. 

Q. How do you tell if a hernia is incarcerated?

An incarcerated hernia can be identified by the signs that the hernia content is trapped within the sac of the hernia. 

This creates blockages and does not allow hernia to reduce. Therefore, an incarcerated hernia is irreversible. 

Q. Should you reduce an incarcerated hernia?

The attempt to reduce is made in 70% of incarcerated hernia cases but the results have mostly been severely complicated. 

These complications are peritonitis, intestinal rupture, or testicular necrosis. This condition of failure can lead the patient to undergo surgical treatment. 

Q. Can you live with an incarcerated hernia?

Leaving incarcerated hernia without medically treating it or removing it can lead to strangulation of the hernia. 

A strangulated hernia is an extremely serious as well as a life-threatening condition. Therefore, it is important to immediately reach out for medical support in case of an incarcerated hernia.

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