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What is a Hernia?

A hernia occurs when any of the internal organs push through weak abdominal muscles. It can be felt as a bulge in your abdomen or in the groin area.

Based on the organ protruding out, there are different types of hernias.

What causes a hernia to form?

There are several reasons why hernias form. Some of them are:

  • Damage to the abdominal muscles

  • Chronic coughing

  • Pregnancy

  • Lifting weights

  • Aging or even being born with weak abdominal muscles

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

A hernia in many cases does not cause any discomfort. It seems like a painless swelling. However, if you experience pain, nausea or vomiting and if you’re not able to push back the bulge into the abdomen, you should visit the doctor immediately.

Why you should see a doctor?

As long as the hernia is not painful, it can be ignored. But, if you experience pain, you should consult a doctor immediately. Ignoring the pain can sometimes even be life threatening.

How is it diagnosed?

A hernia can be diagnosed by a physical examination. The doctor may ask you to stand and cough. Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan or an MRI might be recommended.

Dietary Restrictions

After the surgery, you should eat frequent meals to recover fast. The type of food which is recommended is:

  • Fibre rich food like whole grains, vegetables and fruits

  • Simple, bland and nutritious food

Treatment for Hernia

A hernia cannot be treated through medication. If the hernia turns painful, you’ll need to undergo surgery to treat it.

Types of treatments:

SpecificsLaparoscopic SurgeryTraditional Open Surgery
Large IncisionNo2 to 4 inches
InvasiveNoYes
RecurrenceLowHigh
RecoveryFastSlow
StitchesDissolvable stitchesSeveral stitches
InfectionLow possibilityHigh possibility

Laparoscopic Procedure

This is a simple no cut, no wound procedure which enables fast healing.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • A small incision is made at the navel

  • The hernia is pushed into the abdominal cavity and a mesh is placed over it to strengthen the abdominal wall

  • The incision is then closed with a surgical tape

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1 Day procedure with mild pain

  • Resume normal routine after 2 days

  • Simple, bland, nutritious, fibre rich food

  • Visit the doctor 2-3 weeks after the surgery for a check-up

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • allergic or adverse reaction to anaesthesia or other drugs

  • bleeding

  • nerve injury

  • damage to blood vessels

  • infection

  • formation of hydrocele

Traditional Procedure

The traditional procedure involves a large cut made in the abdomen to reach the hernia which is sutured after the procedure is complete.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • A large cut is made in the abdomen

  • The hernia is pushed back and a mesh is placed over it to strengthen the abdominal wall

  • The cut is closed using sutures

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • Hospital stay of 2-4 days or longer

  • Resume normal day routine after 3-4 weeks

  • Fibre rich, simple, bland and nutritious food is recommended

Risks involved in the treatment:

The procedure involves a large cut. So, some of the risks may be:

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Infection of the surgical wound

  • Nerve damage

  • Infertility in males

  • Damage to femoral artery or vein

  • Risks of general anaesthesia

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