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Friday, 10 June 2016

Hernia: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Hernias are ruptures that occur in smooth muscle tissue, through which a bodily structure protrudes. They occur mostly around the abdominal sections; but hernias can actually arise in different parts of the body including – the thigh, bellybutton, and groin areas.

Types of hernia:
There are different types of hernia; it will surprise you also to know that babies can as well suffer from hernia. In the case of babies – it is usually visible in the tummy area - when the baby coughs or cries. A swelling appears and subsides in those instances. Hernias are usually appearing in the stomach area; sometimes you would also see them just above the navel while at other times they will occur around the groin region, or around the upper thigh.

Typical hernia formation


Inguinal hernia
This is the most common of hernia; it occurs when the intestines push through a weak area or tear in the lower abdominal wall - usually the inguinal canal. In men this is at the groin area where the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen to the scrotum. Sometimes one is likely to mistake this for an overgrown set of testes or scrotum especially when an inguinal hernia has been left unattended to for a long time. But on the contrary, it is just the intestines leaving their original position and spilling down there.

Hiatal hernia
This happens when part of your stomach shoots out through the diaphragm into your chest. The diaphragm enables you breathe by contracting and drawing air into the lungs. Hiatal hernia occurs mostly in patients over 50 years of age.
Umbilical hernia
This can happen in children and babies below 6 months old. You see it when their intestines push through their abdominal wall near the navel. This is most noticeable in that area when the child cries. This kind is the type of hernia that has been known to go away on its own, usually by the time the child is about one year old, otherwise surgery may be needed.

Incisional hernia                                                                                                                       This type of hernias can be seen after you have had operation in your abdomen. The intestines may push through the incision scar or the surrounding, damaged tissue.
Causes of hernia
A hernia actually occurs when an organ pushes through a tear or split in the muscle or tissue that normally secures it in the system. This happens when the area has become weakened as a result of one persistent action or the other. Some of these persistent actions may include: excessive coughing, ‘violent’ sneezing, lifting heavy loads, lifting things with your legs, persistent constipation i.e. difficulty in bowel movement, fluid retained in the stomach, improper closure of the abdominal wall in the womb - which is a congenital defect. It could also be as a result of damage from injury or surgery. Thus a hernia is caused by weakness in the muscles and, or strain.

Sometimes too an (Inguinal) hernia is caused by – Sedentary lifestyle i.e. staying too long in one place; lack of exercise as well as any prolonged ‘mechanical’ postures which exert stress on the abdominal floor may equally lead to this health issue.

Hernia operation

It is a fact that most hernias are not immediately life threatening, but they should not be left to grow to a complicated situation. And most at times, surgery is the best known remedy as at today especially at its advanced stage so as to avoid any further dangers. But expert studies have shown that they will not normally go away just on their own.

Preventing hernia
To prevent contracting hernia however, you are well advised to adopt some simple lifestyle changes apart from preventing the causative factors listed above: Generally, you must try to reduce the amount of strain imposed on your body. Also, avoid constipation or straining during bowel movement, and urination.


Hernias however, are generally handled surgically especially in the advanced stages of the disease. And according to the medical journal, Hippokratia, 2011 Jul-Sept, “Inguinal hernia repair for instance, is probably the most common procedure in general surgery. It is also one of the earliest operations in a junior surgical resident's postgraduate training period.” You are therefore advised to see your physician as soon as possible.

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