How Dangerous Are Hernias?
A hernia is a condition where your internal organs protrude through a weak spot on the abdominal wall. This abdominal wall helps in protecting the internal organs from displacing their original position. Once your abdominal wall becomes weak, and it no longer holds the internal organs, then you can suffer from a hernia. Hernias cannot be cured or go away on their way and require a surgical intervention called hernia repair surgery.
Types of Hernia:
A hernia can concur on any part of the body, and based on that, hernias are distinguished into six  types.
- Hiatal hernia: A part of the stomach can protrude into the chest cavity through a weak point of the diaphragm.
- Umbilical hernia: Intestine or tissues or fat or fluids can bulge through a weak spot near the belly button area or navel.
- Inguinal hernia: A tissue or portion of the intestine can push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall
- Incisional hernia: It can develop over months or years after undergoing abdominal surgery. Internal organs can bulge under the incision or scars from previous abdominal surgeries.
- Femoral hernia: The tissue can bulge through a weak point in the inner thigh or groin. More often, femoral hernias can be noticed in women than in men.
- Epigastric hernia: Here fat can push through the weak part of the epigastric region or belly wall that locates between the belly button and breastbone. Epigastric hernias are small and can raise multiple hernias at a time.
How Dangerous Are Hernias?
In case, you suffer from a hernia and not getting treated, the hernia can become dangerous and cause some serious health problems along with complications. Few of the health problems caused by hernia are:
- Strangulation [where the blood supply to the hernia is cut off]
- Death of abdominal organ tissues due to strangulation
- Sharp and severe pain at the site of the hernia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling in the scrotum
- Intestinal obstruction
- Delay in defecation
Depending on the severity of the hernia and the effects of hernia symptoms on your daily activities, your doctor can recommend undergoing hernia repair surgery. In case, if the hernia is left untreated, you can suffer from:
- Incarcerated hernia: If you delay hernia treatment, you can suffer from an incarcerated hernia where the organs can’t be pushed back to their original position and get trapped outside of the abdominal wall. This can cause severe abdominal pain which would require immediate medical attention.
- Increase in size of hernia: If hernias are left untreated, they can grow in size over time and weaken the abdominal wall. This can cause other internal organs to protrude through the weak spot of the abdominal wall. As a result, multiple small hernias can develop which can affect you from performing your daily activities.
- Symptoms get worse: Over a period, hernia symptoms can get worse and lead to serious health concerns. A few of the symptoms that can become worse are vomiting, nausea, pain in the abdomen, discomfort during urination, difficulty in bowel movements, chest pain, and chronic constipation.
- Change in your health condition: If you keep delaying your hernia repair surgery, you become old enough to develop more serious and complex hernias. As age increases, your abdominal wall also becomes weaker leading more internal organs to bulge out or to displace from their original position. So having surgery at a younger age would be beneficial.
What Are The Measures To Be Followed To Prevent Hernia?
People of all age groups and all genders can suffer from a hernia. In most cases, there is no reason behind the development of a hernia. However, to prevent the occurrence of hernia, your doctor can suggest a few of the lifestyle and dietary changes.
- Consult your doctor immediately after noticing the symptoms of a hernia.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking as they can make your stools hard and can lead to severe constipation.
- Drink 2-4 liters of water daily to soften the stools. By doing so, you can reduce the strain during bowel movements and can reduce the chances of occurrence of constipation as well.
- You should avoid stressing out while urinating and bowel movements.
- Perform simple and easy exercises daily for about 20-30 minutes.
- Eat food items that are high in fiber content such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbages, watermelons, oats, brown rice, and strawberries, etc. Eating these foods can reduce severe constipation.
- If you are obese, lose weight after discussing with your doctor to maintain a healthy BMI.
This can help you to reduce the chances of recurrence of the hernia.
- Try to avoid lifting heavy weights and objects as they can put excessive pressure on the abdomen and can lead to an abdominal hernia.
A hernia can cause severe and life-threatening health conditions when it is left untreated or avoids hernia repair surgery. A few of the serious outcomes of hernia are severe and sharp abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, an incarcerated hernia that can lead to strangulation, and chronic vomiting. These cannot be avoided or treated without surgery, and so you need to undergo hernia repair surgery as soon as possible without any delay. However, before undergoing hernia repair surgery, talk with your doctor about all the benefits, risks, and complications that are associated with the surgery.