What is a Hernia? How does it occur?

Hernia or the hernial sac is the protruding pouch that may contain some parts of organs like the stomach or bowel.

A hernia occurs when a specific portion of the peritoneum or bowel is pushed through a cavity of the abdominal wall. The peritoneum is the membrane lining the entire abdominal cavity and also encloses abdominal organs either partially or completely. A bulge due to a hernial sac may be seen or felt from the outside. The complication does not cause symptoms necessarily. There are some signs related to hernia like

9 Signs of a Hernia You Should Know

1. Constipation

Constipation is one of the signs of a hernia and cannot be ignored. Persistent constipation has to be taken seriously, as it means there is blockage of the large intestine, eventually developing digestion-related problems. Large intestines tend to herniate and block digestion and passage of gas. In certain hernia cases, a portion of the bowel gets swelled up and strangulated, creating the urgency for medical surgeries.

2. Heartburn

Heartburn can occur in case of other medical problems, but a hernia could be one of them. Hernia in the upper abdominal region causes chest pain as well as heartburn. Stomach acid tends to move into the esophagus, causing inflammation that creates a heartburn sensation.

3. Pain In The Pelvic Area

Discomfort or pain in the groin region, especially while a person is lifting, bending, or coughing.

4. Weakness

Muscular fatigue and weakening of muscles more prominently in the upper leg regions and groin are some signs of hernia. This is occurring as a result of pressure build-up in the surrounding areas.

5. Nausea And Vomiting

These general symptoms need to be looked upon along with the other major symptoms. Frequent vomiting and nausea along with an upset stomach are indicative of an incarcerated hernia which is a serious condition. Such enhanced severity of hernia doesn’t return by just gently pushing the organ, and requires medical attention immediately.

6. Fever

Fever must be taken seriously, essentially if it is accompanied by other hernia symptoms. Increased body temperature is indicative of strangulation of herniated tissue, and obstruction in blood flow. This eventually creates life-threatening situation.

7. Feeling Full

Feeling of fullness can be overlooked in many cases but it is also one of the hernia symptoms. People usually don’t take it that seriously because of its involvement in other disease symptoms. However, an inguinal hernia that occurs in the lower abdomen and groin area can make you feel full and bloated accompanied by pain.

8. Swelling

Prominent swelling is one of the major signs that occur due to the extension of a large hernia into the scrotal sacs in men.

9. Pinching in Groin

Pinching sensation in the groin region radiates to the scrotal sac and in the entire leg.

Do’s and Don’t s during Hernia

Do’s

Don’ts

Consume fiber-rich diet; especially fruits and vegetables Reduce the amount of food you consume
Drink a lot of water (at least 1.5-2 liters per day) Avoid putting strain by carrying heavy objects
Supplement diet with liquids Stop smoking  and drinking
Take proper medication for diseases like anemia and diabetes

Don’t use hernia belts or bandages (not recommended by experts nowadays)

Note: Hernia belts or hernia supports that include tight, belt-like bandages are not recommended by the experts nowadays as they may have side effects like bedsores or pressure ulcers. Additionally, they don’t help in treating the hernia. They must not be used to prevent other medical issues.

Diet after Hernia Surgery

An appropriate diet plan must be prepared for a healthy recovery after hernia surgery. In the initial days sticking strictly to the liquid diet is advisable. The dietary plan after the hernia surgery encompasses intake of translucent liquids consisting of

  • 1. Soy milk, almond milk, or cow’s milk
  • 2. Nutritional drinks
  • 3. Vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 4. Ice cream
  • 5. Creamed as well as strained fruits and vegetables
  • 6. Cream of wheat
  • 7. Vanilla pudding
  • 8. Sorbet
  • 9. zucchini
  •  

Translucent liquids taken in the diet help stay hydrated or moisturized post-surgery.

Fiber-rich foods need to be included in the diet post-surgery as well, and intake of plenty of liquids. HIGH FIBER foods include:

  • 1. Whole grains(whole grain wheat and whole grain rice)
  • 2. Whole-grain bread
  • 3. Fruits (like watermelons, apples, bananas, and pears)
  • 4. Vegetables (like green peas, eggplant, or brinjal)
  • 5. Wheat germ and Beans
  • 6. Oatmeal
  • 7. Bran
  •  

Exceptional protein sources like dairy foodstuff and lean meats like chicken breast and fish are essential requirements to accelerate the healing process of the gut post-surgery. Dairy foods need to be avoided in case the patient has a chronic cough. Dairy foods can be consumed when there is no constipation. However, low-fat dairy products, like skimmed milk and, yogurt or curd and cottage cheese may be taken into the diet. Cut the cheese from the diet if there is a possibility of constipation.

Conclusion

A hernia occurs as a result of an internal organ protruding out via a weak spot of muscle or tissue. There are various types of hernia, inguinal hernia ( most commonly occurring hernia), femoral hernia, hiatal hernia, and umbilical hernia. Certain noticeable signs can help an individual identify if they have the complication. The signs to notice are swelling or bulging portion in the groin, pain at the specific site, and enhancement in pain over time and especially while lifting objects or exercises. If some or few of the signs are easily noticeable then it is an indication that the individual has a hernia and medical consultation and treatment need to be taken.

How can you fix a hernia without surgery?

Treating a hernia without surgery usually does not provide a permanent solution to the problem. There are always chances of recurrence in certain types of hernias.

Some of the non-surgical approaches that are in use for treating hernia include:

wearing a binder, corset, or truss that exerts persisting gentle pressure on the out-pouch and helps in keeping it at its position. Such methods provide a solution for pain and discomfort. They can be purposeful at times when an individual is not found to be fit for immediate surgery or the individual is awaiting surgery.

Eventually, a hernia cannot be cured naturally, experts may advise some natural remedies like vegetable juices, aloe vera, and castor seed oil. These may be advantageous in relieving hernia symptoms as they have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Can you push a hernia back?

In a few types of hernias, hernial sac content can be pushed back to their respective position. For example, in a reducible hernia, a gentle procedure of pushing the hernia back may work.

Groin hernias are divided into three categories: reducible, strangulated, or incarcerated hernia. Reducible hernias can be pushed back while the other two categories are irreducible, meaning hernias cannot be pushed inside the abdominal cavity (reversing the abnormal condition).

  • 1. A reducible hernia is the type of hernia wherein the hernial sac or its contents may be pushed back inside the abdominal cavity.
  • 2. An incarcerated hernia cannot be reduced hence it is irreducible. This means that the hernial sac or its contents are “stuck” somewhere outside the abdomen making it impossible to be pushed back.
  •  

 Strangulated hernia is incarcerated hernia wherein the entrance to the hernial sac is constricted. The blood supply to the hernial sac and its contents gets limited, subsequently leading to perforation, tissue necrosis, and bowel infarction.

Hernia Surgery Cost in India

City Cost (INR)
Delhi Rs.55,000 – Rs.2,60,000
Gurgaon Rs.55,000 – Rs.1,10,000
Hyderabad Rs.55,000 – Rs.2,00,000
Chennai Rs.55,000 – Rs.2,00,000
Mumbai Rs.55,000 – Rs.3,30,000
Pune Rs.55,000 – Rs.2,00,000
Bangalore Rs.55,000 – Rs.1,10,000

How can you prevent a hernia from getting worse?

Preventive measures can be different depending on the type of hernia. However, there are a few measures to be taken to prevent the worsening of the situation, such as;

  • 1. Avoiding strain and lifting heavy objects, especially after surgery
  • 2. In case of high chances of recurrence, a synthetic mesh can be used.
  • 3. Try not to bend too much.
  • 4. Eat high-fiber foods
  • 5. Drink plenty of water.
  • Maintain a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index)
  •  

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first signs of a hernia?

  • 1. Swelling in the groin region or scrotal sac (sac containing male testicles).
  • 2. Painful bulge
  • 3. Pain while lifting objects.
  • 4. Increased bulge size with time.
  • 5. Continuous sensation of pain.
  • 6. Feeling of fullness all the time
  •  

How do you check your hernia?

  • 1. A bulge that is seen from outside or felt
  • 2. A pressurized feeling in the region
  • 3. A tugging around the scrotum and testicles
  • 4. Worsening pain with day-to-day activities add pressure while lifting heavier objects, strenuous exercise, or pushes and strain.
  •  

Can a hernia go away on its own?

No, the hernia does not go away on its own. Although, certain types of hernias like abdominal hernias are common and do not get complicated necessarily. However, hernias most of the time need proper medical treatment and usually do not get better on their own.

What is the cause of hernia?

One of the causes of hernia is weak abdominal muscles and connective tissue. This weakening may occur in the case of individuals who are born with such weakened connective tissue. The other reason can be the weakening of muscles in older age. Certain disease conditions or illnesses sometimes involving surgery may result in weak muscles and tissues.

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