What Is Hernia
Before discussing the symptoms of hernia, we should understand what is a hernia and how it is formed. Hernia is the abnormal protrusion of intra- abdominal contents (part of organs or fat) in a sac through a weak point in the abdominal wall. Hernia can be congenital or acquired. The umbilicus and groins on both sides are potential weak area since birth. Due to some factors, that result in increase in the intra-abdominal pressure, parts of some organs or the fatty layer inside the abdomen (termed “Omentum”) can come out through the weak spots and results in hernia. Some of such factors are: Chronic cough, constipation, strain in urine for long duration, post-operative status etc.
Symptoms Of Hernia
- Patients present commonly with reducible abnormal bulge at umbilicus or groin or at previous scar of operation.
- Sometimes, the bulge is associated with pain.
- If the content of hernia is part of intestine, then it can cause obstruction in the passage of our food bolus and results in-:
- Abdominal distension,
- Inability to pass flatus and motion.
- If a hernia occurs after lifting heavy weight, a sharp or tearing pain may be felt.
- Feeling of fullness at the hernia site.
- Hernial contents if get entrapped within the sac and cannot come back to its original site, the condition is termed in “Strangulation”- meaning non-viability of the contents, then fever is one of the symptoms.
It is a surgical emergency. Depending on the site of origin, hernias are known by different names.
There are certain hernias (like Diaphragmatic hernia, Hiatus Hernia), when clinically no bulge can be appreciated, but can only be diagnosed after some investigations. Diaphragmatic hernia occurs through diaphragm (the muscular partition between chest and abdomen). It can be congenital or acquired after injury. Hiatus hernia occurs through the opening in the diaphragm through which our food pipe enters from chest to abdomen. In this case stomach can be herniated to the chest.
Risk Factors For Hernia
- Chronic cough
- Chronic constipation
- Recurrent vomiting
- Ascites (abnormal collection of fluid inside abdominal cavity)
- Abdominal surgery
- Repeatedly moving or lifting heavy weight
Usually hernia is diagnosed clinically. No extra investigation is needed for diagnosis. So, when you have suggesting symptoms, you should visit a medical professional. Hernia is best managed when it is in early stage.
Treatment is surgical. Non-surgical management can never cure common hernias. Nowadays, in the days of minimal access surgery, laparoscopic management is better than the open surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, small holes are made in abdominal wall. Hence, recovery is faster than that after open surgery. Moreover, pain is also less. Persons can resume normal life from next day after surgery.