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Know All About The Different Kinds Of Hernia And How To Deal With Them

Hernia is a condition in which an organ pushes itself through a muscle opening or a tissue that holds the organ in place. It happens when a fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscles. For instance, a hernia may occur when a part of intestines break through weakened area in the abdominal wall. Abdomen is the most common place where hernia occurs. But they can also appear in belly button, upper thigh and groin areas.

While hernias aren’t life threatening immediately, they don’t go away on their own. At times hernia removal needs to be done by surgery in order to avoid serious complications.

Hernia is more common in men than women

Some of the most common kinds of hernias are incisional – which result from an incision, inguinal – which happen in the inner groin, femoral – which appears in the outer groin, umbilical – which happens in the belly button and hiatal – which happens in the upper stomach.

Hernia causes

A combination of muscle weakness and strain results in a hernia. Common reasons for muscle weakness include: any failure in the abdominal wall in the womb, ageing, damage causes by injury and chronic coughing. Causes of straining include pregnancy, constipation, heavy weight lifting, abdominal fluid, sudden weight gain, surgery or persistent coughing. Depending on what causes it, a hernia may develop in a short period of time or take longer to develop.

Kinds of hernia

  1. Umbilical hernia

This kind of hernia is common among children and babies under 6 months. It occurs when intestines bulge through abdominal wall near belly button. Umbilical hernia causes a bulge near a child’s belly button, especially when they are crying. Unlike any other hernia, umbilical hernia goes on its own as abdominal muscles become stronger as the child grows up.

  1. Inguinal hernias

Inguinal hernias make up for 70% of the hernias. They occur when intestines push out through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall. The inguinal canal is found in the groin. It is more common in men than women. Men’s testicles descend through their inguinal canal after birth. While the canal is sometimes supposed to close behind the testicles, it doesn’t close properly at times and leave behind a weakened area. This makes men more prone to risks of hernia.

  1. Hiatal hernia

In case of a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach protrudes from diaphragm into the chest cavity. Usually, hiatal hernia occurs in people over 50 years of age. It is only in case of a congenital birth defect that a child gets hiatal hernia. Gastroesophageal reflux is a common symptoms of hiatal hernia. It causes the stomach to leak back into the esophagus and results in a burning sensation.

Hernia risk factors

Obesity or being overweight, having history of hernias in family, chronic coughing, chronic constipation and smoking are factors which increase your risk of developing hernia. Cystic fibros, a condition which impairs functioning of lungs and causes chronic cough, can also increase risk of developing hernia.

Hernia symptoms

A bulge or a lump in the affected area is the most common symptom of hernia. Besides, pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, especially when bending, coughing or lifting is a common symptom of hernia.

Experiencing burning or aching sensation of the bulge, acid reflux, pain in the chest and experiencing difficulty in swallowing are other symptoms of hernia.

Symptom of umbilical hernia is when you feel the bulge when the baby cries.

There are some cases when hernia gives no symptoms. You may only get to know when you get a medical check-up done.

How to deal with hernia

Lifestyle changes, medication and surgeries are the common ways of dealing with hernia.

  1. Lifestyle changes

Introducing some changes in your diet can help in treating symptoms of hiatal hernia. You should avoid eating heavy meals and lying down on the bed immediately after eating a meal. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also help in dealing with hernia. Avoid eating foods which cause acid reflux or heart burn.

  1. Medication

Hiatal hernia can be dealt with by taking medicines which reduce stomach acid and heart burn.

  1. Surgery

If dietary changes and medications don’t work, surgery is the ultimate way to remove hernia. Surgeries are also helpful for hernias which are growing in size and are causing pain and discomfort.