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Hernia: When To See A Doctor?

Commonly, hernia occurs around the abdominal area and are harmless.

In most cases, hernias are seen in the abdomen between the chest and hips, but they can also appear in the groin areas and one's upper thigh.

Is there swelling in the groin or abdomen? Do you suffer from constipation or even back pain? Then, beware! It could be a hernia. Here, Dr. Rajan Modi, Minimal Access Surgeon and Laparoscopy Surgeon, House of Doctors, tells you all about the symptoms, causes, and precautions to tackle it. Read on to know more about this, and don't forget to follow the essential tips.

A hernia can be termed as a gap in between the fascia of the abdominal wall and muscles through which the internal content of the body such as the small and large intestine, stomach, bladder and protrudes out into the skin. Many hernias are seen in the abdomen between the chest and hips. However, they can also be there in the groin areas and one's upper thigh. A hernia is not a life-threatening entity.

The causes of hernia can be attributed to the pressure and an opening or weakness of muscle or fascia. You will be shocked to know that the pressure pushes an organ or tissue through the opening or weak spot. The muscle weakness can be present at birth or may occur in later life.

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The symptoms of hernia: You will have to immediately consult the doctor, if you notice symptoms such as swelling in the groin or abdominal wall because of prolonged standing, coughing or sneezing, or even a good laugh! Pain, swelling, tugging sensation in the abdomen, constipation and poor posture causing back pain.

Know when it can be a hernia

What you may feel?

Weakness, dull ache, heaviness, or a burning sensation in the abdomen, groin, and scrotum. It may worsen if you strain your abdominal muscles while you cough, lift heavy objects, play sports, have a bowel movement, or stand for long periods. Nevertheless, it may feel better with rest.

What you may see?

A soft bulge in the scrotum or groin area that you can push back in with mild force or the same soft bulge getting smaller or disappearing after you lie down. Also, the bulge may get bigger when you would cough, bend, lift, or strain over the course of the day.

What you may notice?

A sensation that something has torn or sudden sharp pain in the groin area. Hence, even if you haven't witnessed any other symptoms, you must see your doctor immediately.

Diagnosis and surgery: Your doctor will ask you to opt for an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI Scan to aid in the diagnosis.

The treatment

Laparoscopic hernia repair surgery: In the following, a camera called 'laparoscope' is inserted into the abdomen for visualizing the hernia to make an accurate incision in the lower part of the abdomen. It is mostly performed with general anesthaesia.

Open surgery for hernia repair: When an incision is made in the groin, it is considered open hernia repair. Here, the bulging intestine stored in a hernia is identified by the surgeon to push it back to the abdomen. Later, synthetic mesh or stitches are used to restore the abdominal wall.

Robotic surgery for hernia repair: It is the most advanced procedure as it comprises three-dimensional images of the internal abdomen assuring minor scars and lesser pain.

TAR Surgery for Recurrent and Complex Hernia Repair: It is the only procedure that treats complex ventral hernias from the roots. In TAR surgery, a midline long incision is made to the pubis for opening hernia and frees its flanks. Next, a retro-rectus plane is developed and the rectus muscle is lifted anteriorly in the closure.

Tips to prevent hernia

Contact doctor in case of persistent cough. Prevent constipation by eating fiber-rich food. Don't strain during bowel movement. Strengthen abdomen muscle with exercise, avoid weight-lifting or smoking.

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