The human body can do some pretty amazing things. Your muscles keep your body moving. They also help hold your insides…in. A weak spot in a muscle or tissue can let part of your insides squeeze through. That, my friend, is a hernia. CHI Health is here to tell you three things you should know on “Hernias: Uncovered”
What is a Hernia?
Hi, I’m Arman Pajnigar, MD, an internal medicine provider with CHI Health. If you’ve noticed a lump somewhere between your chest and your hips, you may have a hernia. That lump is actually a loop of small intestine that’s pushed through a small hole or weak area in your muscle. Luckily, it stays there under your skin. Most hernias occur in the inner groin or outer groin. Some are umbilical and happen at your belly button. Babies can be born with an umbilical hernia. Sometimes a hernia happens at the site of a scar where you’ve had surgery.
Hernias Can Be Painless
Hernias are more common in men but can happen to women and people of all ages. Wherever it is, this bulge is often completely painless. It can get bigger over time and make you feel full. Sometimes there’s pain, pressure or a dull ache. Even if it’s painless, you should see your doctor if you notice a hernia. An exam usually leads to a diagnosis.
When To Seek Surgical Treatment
Treatment is often just watchful waiting – to see if the hernia gets worse and needs surgery. Some hernias become either incarcerated or strangulated. Sounds painful, right? Both are serious. An incarcerated hernia means the intestine has become stuck and blocked. A strangulated hernia is when the intestine is trapped so tightly that its blood supply is cut off. Both conditions require surgery – even emergency surgery in some cases.
To prevent hernias, don’t try to lift objects like a superhero. Use proper lifting techniques. The key is not to strain when lifting, coughing or even in the bathroom. It also helps to take good care of your amazing body. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise, eat high-fiber foods and don’t smoke.
I’m Arman Pajnigar. Be sure to check back for more from CHI Health Uncovered. Learn more about hernias and treatment here.