5 Most Common Causes Of Hernia
Hernia, in some cases, is harmless and pain-free, but sometimes, a harrowing pain and discomfort may be felt. A Hernia doesn’t always have symptoms, it might only show up in routine check-ups, and while getting examined for some unrelated health condition. The common symptoms are:
- A localized bulge
- Pain and discomfort around the bulge
- Nausea and vomiting
Types of Hernia:
Although there are other rarer variants, Hernia is classified into 5 primary and common types according to the region of its origin:
1.Inguinal (inner groin): This is the most common type of Hernia, consisting of almost 75% of all abdominal wall Hernia cases. It is classified into indirect and direct:
- Indirect: It can occur at any age and follows the path testicles create during fetal development.
- Direct: This occurs in the aged and is observed near the diluent abdominal wall.
2. Incisional(the result of an incision): After abdominal surgery, the peritoneum is weakened. This can cause a Herniated bulge to occur in 2%-10% of all surgery cases. They may return even after surgical repairs.
3. Femoral(outer groin): Common in women, there is a Herniated bulge near the thigh region, specifically in the Femoral area as a result of the abdominal cavity contents, commonly guts, protruding in the femoral canal.
4. Umbilical(belly button): A painless type mostly occurring during birth, surgery is only required if the Hernia is bigger than half an inch in size.
5. Hiatal(upper stomach): This Hernia is due to the abdomen pushing through the gap in the diaphragm and is generally painless.
Causes of Hernia
From a statistical point of view, Hernia is more common in males, and the risks are further amplified with age. Although there might not be any specific reasons for the occurrence of the bulge, Hernias are seen as a combination of abdominal muscle weakness and increased pressure created in the abdominal area of an individual. Some of the most common causes of Hernia that can be listed are as follows:
1. A congenital condition present during birth or multiple pregnancies
In infants where Hernia develops inside the womb and is present at birth, the bulge is amputated out around the age of 2-4 years. Other cases of Umbilical Hernia is found in pregnant women due to high pressure formed in the abdominal region, and this case is more common in middle-aged women with a history of multiple pregnancies.
2. Damage caused due to injury, surgery or strenuous work
Post-surgery, an individual can be more vulnerable to Incisional Hernia that occurs around the area of operation. Other such causes might include a difficult task, usually occurs during heavy working out or load lifting and injuries caused due to the same.
3. Ageing, obesity, and inactivity
Ageing automatically causes the muscles to weaken and add to the chances of Hernia occurrence in a person. The reasons are magnified if the individual is obese, which leads to an inability to move freely and, thus, inactivity of muscles. Inactive muscles are more prone to developing Hernia bulges.
4. Constipation or chronic pulmonary disorders
Constipation is ranked as the number one cause of Hernia, along with constant coughing and other respiratory issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. These generate extremely high pressures in the region around the diaphragm, causing Hiatal Hernia.
5. Fluid accumulation in the abdomen and cirrhosis
Accumulation of fluids in the stomach due to any health condition or cirrhosis, which in turn generates from cystic fibrosis, can also end up in Hernia. These cases are common in elderly men, and the symptoms escalate with prolonged drinking or smoking habits.
Diagnosis of Hernia follows procedural steps:
- Physical examination: The abdominal or groin area is checked for bulges, along with a brief study of an individual’s medical history.
- Image tests: The doctors need these to aid their diagnosis; these include:
○ Abdominal ultrasound
○ CT scan
○ MRI scan
- In the case of Hiatal Hernia doctors may use other tests to get the exact location of your Hernia, they are:
○ Barium X-ray
Hernia Treatment: What are my options?
Treatment of Hernia requires surgery, one goes either with open or laparoscopic surgery; the type of surgery is decided after looking at the condition and the extent of the bulge.
- Open surgery:
Open surgery is opted for in case of first-time Hernia development or if the bulge is identified at an early stage or when there is a single occurrence of the bulge.
- Laparoscopic surgery:
Considered for an old hernia opening or in case of bilateral bulges.
Road to recovery: Lifestyle changes and precautions
Although it’s hard to pinpoint a particular cause of Hernia, specific preventive measures must be undertaken to avoid its occurrence. Here are some of the suggested changes:
- Avoid smoking
- Visit the doctor for a persistent cough
- Keeping body weight in check
- Follow the doctor’s prescribed muscle strengthening exercises but be mindful of heavy weight lifting
- Eating a balanced and fibrous diet to prevent constipation and acid flux.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements or urination.
There are no special precautions or specific post-surgery care that one can take to guarantee the non-occurrence of Hernia. However, suggested dietary and lifestyle changes may reduce the chances of Hernial growth or revival.