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Do you feel a bulge or lump on your groin or belly area? Does it hurt often when you laugh, lift heavy objects, or cough? Does the bulge increase in size over time, and you can feel intense and sharp pain around the bulge?
Well, if your answer to all is yes, this article is what you should look into. Not to scare you off, but you might have a hernia pain.
So, let’s start with the basics…
1. What is Hernia?
In standard terms, a hernia occurs when the muscle wall or tissue surrounding the organ becomes weak or tears out, pushing the organ outside through the weak or torn area. A hernia bulge pops out.
In most cases, the abdominal walls or tissues weaken generally. The abdominal wall is covered with layers of muscle tissues which protect the surrounding organs.
Sometimes, these muscle walls get weak or tear up when there is too much pressure or strain. It occurs due to fast actions, intense workouts, or twists. This causes the muscle to tear, and hence the contents inside the organ are protruded.
The resulting gap between the muscle and the organ is known as hernia.
2. Different Types of Hernia.
1. Inguinal Hernia, also known as Inner Groin Hernia.
2. Hiatus Hernia is also known as an upper stomach hernia.
3. Umbilical Hernia, also known as Navel Hernia.
4. Ventral Hernia is also known as abdominal hernia.
5. Femoral Hernia is also known as upper thigh hernia.
6. Epigastric Hernia.
7. Incisional Hernia.
8. Spigelian Hernia.
9. Muscle Hernia.
10. Strangulated Hernia.
A brief of different types of Hernia:
2.1. Inguinal Hernia:
Inguinal Hernia is also known as Inner Groin Hernia. It is named after the Inguinal canal. Inguinal Hernia means muscle wall weakness or tearing near your groin.
Types: Direct inguinal hernia and Indirect inguinal hernia.
Inguinal hernias are most common in men. It is rarely seen in women. It occurs in male babies or men above 40 years.
It may even occur after an Abdominal surgery and if there is a family history of hernias. It is diagnosed by a physical examination where the doctor examines the bulge’s size and the swelling’s severity.
If no bulge or swelling is visible, they ask for a CT scan, abdominal ultrasound, intestine endoscopy and surrounding connective tissues, and MRI.
Treatment of Inguinal Hernias depends on the seriousness of the hernia.
The central concept of treatment will be to avoid constipation. They will recommend a diet plan that includes vegetables and fruits. Including whole grains in your diet is recommended because it will prevent constipation and, in turn, reduce hernia pain.
If the hernia is severe, surgery is the only way to cure it.
The surgeon pushes the tissue back inside during the surgery and strengthens it with stitches and mesh. It is laparoscopic surgery.
2.2. Hiatal Hernia
Hiatus Hernia occurs when the abdominal wall muscle tissues are damaged. It is a widespread type of hernia and has four sub-types.
Type 1: Also known as Sliding Hiatal Hernia
Type 2: Also known as para esophageal hyatal hernia.
Type 3 is a combination of Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 4: This is a rare and complicated hernia.
Hiatal hernia causes acid reflux and can be diagnosed by Chest X-ray, Esophagram, and Upper endoscopy.
Hiatal hernia is not very serious and can be treated.
3.3. Umbilical Hernia:
It is said to be the most common hernia in adults and infants and is also known as Navel Hernia. It is considered very common among babies below six months old.
The treatment is similar to the hernias mentioned above. CT scans and MRIs diagnose it.
If the hernia is severe, then surgery is required. Umbilical hernias are not painful and do not cause any problems.
2.4. Ventral Hernia:
It is also known as Abdominal Hernia. It develops in many regions of the abdomen, around the abdominal wall and muscles. It has mild pain or sensations at the hernia.
The condition worsens with pressure, heavy lifting, and intense exercise.
People after Abdominal surgery have a higher risk of it.
2.5. Femoral Hernia:
It is the most severe type of hernia.
Femoral hernias are rare in children. It is commonly seen in females. It is hazardous because the femoral artery and vein are close by. The risk of complications is usually higher because it may become incarcerated.
It will become a medical emergency and is often considered a dangerous situation.
2.6. Epigastric Hernia:
It occurs in the Epigastric area. Epigastric Hernias are small in size and do not cause any pain. A few Epigastric Hernias are large and require surgery.
Few infants are born with it, and few adults develop hernia due to muscle weakness.
2.7. Incisional hernia:
It usually occurs after stomach surgery. It happens if the stomach wound is not healed correctly. It is similar to that of Ventral Hernias. But they are not the same.
As mentioned above, the diagnosis and treatment are the same as for the hernias. The doctor will provide appropriate treatment based on the situation.
2.8. Muscle Hernia:
It occurs during sports and is considered a part of sports injury. It commonly occurs in leg muscles. It is pretty standard and treatable.
2.9. Spigelian Hernia:
It occurs at the side of the abdominal muscles, below the stomach.
3. Common Causes of Hernias
Hernias can be caused by a variety of factors, as mentioned below:
1. Damage from an injury
2. Chronic coughing
3. Damage from surgery
5. Heavy-weight lifting
6. Multiple pregnancies.
7. Chronic constipation
8. congenital problems
9. Low birth weight
12. Family history
13. Premature Birth
14. Intense exercise
15. Age factors
16. Sudden gain in weight
17. Fluid buildup
18. Poor diet.
19. Muscle weakness by birth
20. Pressure on muscles
4. The Signs and Symptoms of Hernia
1. Swelling of skin in the abdomen or groin
2. constipation or blood in the stool.
4. Intense pain
5. Pain near the testicles
6. Fever discoloration
5. Diagnosis of Hernia Includes:
Often a simple physical exam is enough to diagnose a hernia, however, depending on its severity and type, following methods can be used:
2. CT scabs.
4. Physical examination.
6. Treatment of Hernia:
As said previously, hernia treatment depends on the pain’s severity.
The standard treatments provided by a doctor include:
6.1. Wait and Watch:
The doctors wait and watch the hernia and then decide on its treatment. If the hernia worsens over time, then treatment is provided.
It is important to note that most hernias can be cured without treatment if the severity is low in infants.
6.2. Plastic Surgery:
Plastic surgeons are needed to repair the soft tissues or other internal organs. This will prevent further infections. They even remove excess skin. They are known for treating recurrence hernias with the complications of post-colectomy.
Surgery is the most recommended treatment by doctors if the hernia severity is high.
The surgical procedure includes two methods.
6.3.1. Open Surgery:
When the surgeon opens an incision near the hernia, they cut open and strengthen the weak muscle walls, repair the damaged walls, and insert a piece of mesh to strengthen them. The surgery is minor and will require spinal anaesthesia.
The surgery will last about 1–2 hours, and the hernia will be removed.
6.3.2. Laparoscopic Surgery:
The surgeon makes a small opening and then inserts a long tool. Another small opening is made to insert a tiny camera known as a laparoscope. The abdominal wall is strengthened, and a meah is inserted to support it.
For femoral hernia, the procedure is quite different. It has complications and requires surgery with a lot of precautions due to the femoral artery and vein.
There are various home remedies.
1. Castor Seed Oil:
A castor seed oil pack is prepared and placed on the stomach. It soothes the pain and reduces the swelling.
Foods like almond milk, yoghurt, carrots, peas, green tea, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, berries, and almonds should be included in the diet. Spicy foods with strong spices and foods that are acidic should be avoided.
3. Vegetable Juice:
Vegetable juices are the most effective. Carrot juice, spinach juice, broccoli juice, etc. are recommended. They soothe the burning sensation and provide a feeling of comfort.
4. Black pepper:
It helps to reduce acid reflux.
5. Ice Packs:
Ice packs help reduce inflammation and pain in the want region.
6. Aloe Vera:
Aloe Vera juice has anti-inflammatory properties and can potentially lower the risk of hernia.
Walking will reduce the stress and strain on a hernia. It has many other health benefits, too.
8. Small Meals:
Always have small, light, and less spicy meals because it will reduce the pressure on the intestines and the stress on the gastrointestinal tract.
7. Common Medications Used to Treat Hernias:
There are no particular medications used to treat hernia, but painkillers can be used at a very minimal range if the hernia pain is unbearable.
8. Is There Any Other Way to Treat a Hernia Without Surgery?
Surgery is scary, right? You can treat hernias even without surgery. Just follow the home remedies mentioned above, and you will not require surgery for hernias.
9. Is it Okay if Hernia is Treated With Natural Remedies?
Yes. Home remedies are safe and effective and can help to a greater extent. They strengthen the surrounding connective tissues and reduce the pain in the groin area. The part of the intestine causing the hernias and sudden pain can be reduced.
10. Prevention of Hernias
1. Avoid smoking.
2. Reduce alcohol intake.
3. Reduce intense workouts.
4. Reduce weight if you are obese.
11. How Long Will the Hernia Take to Recover After Surgery?
Recovery from hernias will not take a long time. It is not very painful and has fewer risk factors involved. Hernia will have a short recovery time, and you can begin your daily routine after your doctor suggests it.
After surgery, The hernia pain should probably last 5–10 days.
There will be mild to moderate pain and discomfort. It won’t have severe complications.
Now, moving to our main question…
12. When Should I Worry About Hernia Pain?
Hernia does not have serious complications or more severe symptoms and is treatable.
Sometimes, a hernia might not show any symptoms, and there will be no pain. Few hernias are asymptomatic.
So the question is, when exactly should you worry about a hernia? And when should you visit a doctor?
Firstly, hernias will not show apparent symptoms initially. But the hernias form a bulge or lump. Whenever you start feeling a lump or a bulge in your abdomen or any area of the area mentioned above, you need to check for other bulges or lumps on the hernia site.
Post that, you can look out for other associated symptoms, such as:
- Check out for tissue bulges or tissue protrudes.
- Check out if there are lumps or if there are any bulges near the belly button.
- Check to see if there is pain near the belly button and groin area.
- Check if you can pass gas and if bowel movements are normal.
- Check for swelling near and around the lump.
- Check for the severity of pain around the lump in that particular organ. Check for the intensity and sharpness of the pain.
- Check for inflammation in that area.
- Check the color of the lump to see if it is red, purple, or even a darker shade.
If any hernia symptoms are present and there is vomiting, fever, discolouration, difficulty swallowing food, difficulty in bowel pushing, low blood flow and blood supply to the groin area, weakened abdominal muscles, or herniated bowel, you should seek medical help.
As soon as the signs and symptoms of a hernia are suspected, immediately consult a doctor because, even though hernia is considered less severe, less risky, and not life-threatening, it has severe pain that cannot be tolerated over time. The intestine loop pushes the digestive system, and a part of the intestine causes the intestine tissue to pop out.
As said above, hernias are more visible while laughing or coughing. People tend to use medications to stop coughing. It is strongly recommended to stop taking the tablets and syrups because overuse of coughing can cause other complications.
The doctor will monitor and provide appropriate treatment according to the severity of the disease and the types of hernias.
Even though hernias are not severe, some are consequential and have many complications. Always check for umbilical hernias, as they are the most common types. Also, check the groin area for swelling.
So, if there is the slightest symptom of a hernia, you need to contact a doctor.