When you hear the word hernia, aside from pain in your abdomen, what comes to mind? A hernia is a condition that can affect both men and women. It occurs when part of the intestine or abdominal tissue pushes through a hole in the muscles of the abdominal wall.
While the pain can be excruciating, you may not even realize you have one at first. Initial symptoms can be as simple as a bulge in the abdomen or an area that is sensitive to the touch. The pain can get worse when you exercise or lift heavy things, or strain when going to bathroom.
As with any health issue, it is best to have things checked out as soon as possible. And with a hernia, if you wait too long, you can actually create an emergency for yourself and require sudden and immediate medical care.
If you believe you have a hernia, you should set up an appointment as soon as you can. It is not something to mess with. And if surgery is needed, Dr. David L. Chengelis of Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, PC, uses a minimally invasive procedure with both robotic and laparoscopic techniques. The surgery is usually completed within two hours, and most patients can go home within two days.
Is there more than one type of ventral hernia?
Yes, in fact there are three types of ventral hernias: An epigastric hernia, which can affect both men and women and is found between the breastbone and belly button. A belly button or umbilical hernia, which is obviously in the area of the belly button. And an incisional hernia, which can be the result of a previous surgery, usually where the scar is located.
According to the Cleveland Clinic: “Up to one-third of patients who have had an abdominal surgery will develop an incisional hernia at the site of their scar.” And this can happen months or even years after the surgery.
What are the causes of a ventral hernia?
The list is quite long, as there are many causes of a ventral hernia. Some can be helped and possibly prevented, while others obviously cannot. Like anything, there are preventative measures we can take, which include maintaining a healthy weight, not over exerting ourselves, and protecting ourselves when and if we have to lift heavy objects.
- Frequent or chronic coughing. This is obviously an issue that should be addressed on its own, but now you know it can have other serious side effects.
- Heavy lifting. This can be the cause of a ventral hernia, and also when you realize you have one. Be careful and take the usual precautions whenever you have to move or lift heavy objects.
- Pregnancy. Sorry to say, but this can be a side effect of something so blissful. The key is to take care of yourself as best you can, and control what you can.
- Previous abdominal surgery. As mentioned before, a weakness at the incision and within the scar, or a previous surgery that failed to correct the initial hernia, can cause a ventral hernia.
- Being overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, and exercising is important, as is taking care of yourself in general. When you don’t, a ventral hernia can be an unintended consequence.
Other causes can include: A weak abdominal wall, which you may have been born with, a family history of hernias, old age, prostate issues, certain lung diseases, diabetes, severe vomiting or an injury.
What is most important is for you to get to the doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms, like pains in the abdomen or an unusual bulge. Dr. Chengelis knows that in addition to more discomfort and greater pain, if you wait, things can get much worse and more severe and cause other complications. Call the office or make an appointment using the convenient online booking tool here on the website.