June is Hernia Awareness Month

June is Hernia Awareness Month

What is a hernia?

Hernias are something that I am not familiar with, so I’m looking forward to learning about this condition. Now I know that this is not an autoimmune disorder, but this is a condition that happens to many people and it affects their health. So, why not learn about the hernia?

 

A hernia is a condition in which part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it (often involving the intestine at a weak point in the abdominal wall).

There are 5 types of hernias. I have heard of the hiatal hernia, but I’m not sure what it is.

  1. Inguinal (inner groin) – with this hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.
  2. Incisional (resulting from an incision) –  with this hernia, the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery.
  3. Femoral (outer groin) – this hernia occurs when the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh.
  4. Umbilical (belly button) – with this hernia, part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall near the navel.
  5. Hiatal (upper stomach) – this hernia happens when the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes.

June is Hernia Awareness MonthWho is affected by these hernias?

Inguinal – most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.

Incisional – most common in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.

Femoral – most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese.

Umbilical – Common in newborns. Obese women or those who have had many children may experience this.

Hiatal – this hernia can occur more often in women, people who are overweight, and people older than 50.

What causes a hernia?

All hernias are caused by a combination of pressure and an opening or weakness of muscle or fascia.

Anything that causes an increase in pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia, including:

  • Lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Persistent coughing or sneezing

These three things can weaken muscles and make hernias more likely:

  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition
  • and smoking

How is a hernia repaired?

Inguinal or umbilical hernia if these hernias are small and does not cause symptoms, a watchful waiting approach may be reasonable. If the hernia does increase in size, or if there is concern about potential incarceration, (Abnormal retention or confinement of a body part; specifically : a constriction of the neck of a hernial sac so that the hernial contents become irreducible.) then surgery may be recommended.
Umbilical hernias – Unless the defect is large, umbilical hernias in children tend to resolve on their own by 1 year of age. Surgery may be considered if the hernia is still present at age 3 or 4, or if the defect in the umbilicus is large.
Hiatal Hernias – Treatment is aimed at decreasing acid production in the stomach and preventing acid from entering the esophagus. 
Wouldn’t you know? Weird Al wrote a song about hernias.

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