The muscles of the body are good at protecting internal organs and keeping them in place. But sometimes muscles can tear or weaken, allowing an organ or fatty tissue to be pushed (or herniated) into an area where it doesn't belong.
When this happens, you may notice a lump or lump, although sometimes these lumps are not felt. Other times, the lump may come and go, depending on your position or what you are doing. These weaknesses in the muscle wall and the subsequent tissues or organs through it are called hernias.
Types of hernias
Most hernias occur in the abdomen, between the breastbone and the hip bones. Hernias that can be put back are called recoverable hernias. Those who cannot be returned to their place are called immune or imprisoned.
If you feel a hernia on the outside (you may notice a bulge), you have an external hernia. Those that are not palpable are called internal hernias.
Also, hernias are classified according to the areas of the body in which they occur. Some of the most common are:
- Inguinal hernia – usually occurs in the groin canals located on both sides of the groin. Inguinal hernia is one of the most common types of hernia, affecting 27% of men and 3% of women .
- Umbilical hernias : These occur when tissue or parts of the intestine are pushed through a weak spot near the navel. They represent 6 to 14% of abdominal hernias in adults, making them the second most common type of hernia. Up to 20% of newborns have this hernia. If it does not close at 5 years, it must be closed surgically .
- Hiatal hernias: These occur when parts of the stomach or other organs pass through an opening in the diaphragm. Hiatal hernias are very common and the vast majority of them are so-called "sliding" hiatal hernias, that is, they can move in and out of place .
- Femoral hernia . They are found in the lower part of the groin, near the upper part of the thigh. Women, due to their wider pelvis, are four times more likely to develop femoral hernias than men .
- Incisional hernias – Cutting and suturing during surgery can weaken the muscle wall, increasing the likelihood that a hernia will develop. About 15% of people will develop an incisional hernia after abdominal wall surgery .
Most hernias can be felt. You may notice a lump or lump (it can be hard or soft) somewhere on your body. Not all hernias are uncomfortable, but when they do, you may experience:
- To throw away
- Digestive problems such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The discomfort may be more severe when you strain (for example, when you have a bowel movement or lift a heavy object) or contract your abdominal muscles (for example, when you cough, sneeze, or exercise).
If you experience sudden or severe pain around a hernia, or if you experience nausea and vomiting at the same time as the pain, seek immediate medical attention. This could be a sign that an organ or tissue is dangerously stuck in a ruptured area (imprisoned) or that its blood supply has been cut off (called a strangulated hernia), which is a medical emergency .
Hernias can happen to anyone, male or female, young or old. Sometimes it is born with weakened muscle walls, and sometimes this develops over time. Some risk factors for hernia include:
- Gender : Men are about twice as likely to have hernias as women , mainly due to the male anatomy. When the testicles descend from the abdomen during fetal development, the opening does not always close properly (or does not close at all), resulting in a hernia. , especially an inguinal hernia, most likely at some point in life.
- Being overweight or obese : Being overweight puts pressure on muscles and organs, weakening the structures that hold objects in place.
- Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies : As the fetus grows and develops, the load on the abdominal wall of the pregnant woman increases.
- Age : muscles weaken with age.
- Previous surgery: Surgery in the abdomen or groin can weaken the muscles.
- Do activities that can tighten your abdominal muscles : This includes lifting weights.
- Persistent cough : the cough puts pressure on the chest and abdomen.
- Tobacco use : This can lead to a chronic cough.
- Family history of hernias : Men with a family history of inguinal hernias are eight times more likely to develop them than men without a family history .
- Constipation : This can cause straining during bowel movements and pressure on the abdomen.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam by feeling the hernia while you are sitting, standing, or even coughing. Imaging tests such as ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) may also be ordered.
Your doctor may also perform an endoscopy , which uses a flexible oscilloscope equipped with a light and a camera to examine the inside of the esophagus and stomach.
How you treat a hernia depends on several factors, including the location of the hernia, its size, whether it grows, and whether it causes any discomfort.
Even the genital anatomy plays a role. For example, inguinal hernias in women can be treated more aggressively than in men, as it can be difficult to distinguish them correctly from femoral hernias, which have a 30% chance of entrapment .
As a general rule of thumb, for asymptomatic small hernias, your doctor may recommend that you simply look at the hernia. For large hernias that cause pain or worsen quality of life, surgery may be recommended. Types of hernia surgery include open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and robotic surgery.
In open surgery, the surgeon cuts the body at the site of the hernia. The bulging parts are put back in place and the space is sutured.
Instead of stitches, the doctor may use a mesh panel (usually made of plastic or animal tissue) to provide additional support. Those with mesh-repaired femoral and inguinal hernias appear to have a lower risk of hernia recurrence .
Through small incisions through which surgical instruments (usually a flexible tube with a camera and a light that directs the surgeon) move the organs / tissues into place and close the hole. This surgery is considered minimally invasive and requires a faster recovery than open surgery.
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery, but the surgeon controls the instruments from the console.
Aside from umbilical hernias that affect newborns, the hernia does not go away on its own. See your doctor if you notice a lump. If you have risk factors for hernia, make sure your doctor checks them on your physical exam.
To keep hernias at bay, monitor your health:
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Stay hydrated and eat a diet rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to avoid constipation.
- Don't lift more than you can.
- Do not smoke.
Get the word of drug information
Finding a lump or bump on your body can be scary and the first thing to do is see your doctor. But if you have been diagnosed with a hernia, rest assured that you are not alone.
Hernias are quite common, and the surgeries often used to treat them are among the most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Each year more than 20 million hernias are recovered worldwide, of which 700,000 are found in the United States alone .
Although any surgery carries risks, hernia surgery is considered safe and effective. Recovery will depend on your general health and the type of surgery performed, but many people return to their normal daily routine after only a couple of weeks.