The intestines are held in place by complex layers of fat, tissue and muscle. A hernia occurs when the layer of muscle weakens and tears, allowing the intestine to protrude through those layers. These can result in a very painful bump visible on the surface of the skin, and can even be life-threatening in some situations.
There are 4 types of hernias:
- Inguinal: A hernia of the groin or scrotum, occurring more often in men than in women.
- Femoral: Occurring mostly in women, a femoral hernia develops in the upper thigh. This type of hernia, when strangulated, cuts off the blood supply causing a life-threatening situation.
- Incisional: Typically a minor hernia and develops at the site of an abdominal incision that did not heal properly.
- Umbilical: Caused by a weakness in the abdominal muscles surrounding the belly button. Some people have them from birth, however, symptoms may not appear until much later. Umbilical hernias mostly affect boys.
What causes a hernia?
In some cases, there is no identifiable cause for a hernia; however, heavy lifting is often contributed to certain types of hernias, such as an inguinal hernia. Not all hernias present with a noticeable bulge, but rather pain is felt when bending, lifting, straining to go to the bathroom, or coughing. If you’ve ever heard the term “turn your head and cough,” it is in reference to checking for hernia.
Hernias can often be prevented with a little common sense and guidance. When lifting, use proper lifting techniques and get help with heavier objects. Straining to go to the bathroom can also cause a hernia. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water can prevent constipation.
Minor hernias, because they cause little or no pain, are sometimes only discovered during regular exams. However, if you suspect you may have a hernia, see your doctor. Your doctor can diagnose a hernia by feeling for a mass and having you cough, lift or bend. If the mass gets larger during these actions, you may have a hernia that needs attention right away.
Will I need surgery?
Minor hernias can sometimes be pushed back into place, while more severe hernias cannot. These hernias may pose a health risk and surgery may be required. Hernia repair is a common outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. The general surgeons at Intercoastal Medical Group perform hernia repair in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida.
Hernia repair in Sarasota
The procedure begins with a small incision near the hernia site. The protruding tissues are gently pushed back in place, behind the muscle wall. The muscles are repaired and the incision is closed. Following surgery, you may need to wear a supportive corset or wrap your mid-section to reduce pressure and strain on the muscle, allowing it to heal. Your doctor may restrict your activities until you are fully healed.
Visit our patient library to learn more about hernia repair. Remember, even if your symptoms seem like a hernia, a trained doctor should still examine you and give the proper diagnosis. Better safe than sorry, especially if you are experiencing a lot of pain.
If you think you may have a hernia, or are experiencing pain in the groin area when coughing, bending, or lifting, contact your physician at Intercoastal Medical Group today or request an appointment online.