Hernia is a condition wherein an organ bulges and pushes its way through an opening in the abdomen or tissue/muscle that is supposed to hold it in proper place. An example of this would be the intestine breaking through the abdomen wall. Though most commonly seen to happen in the abdomen, a hernia can also affect the areas of the belly button, upper thigh and the region near the groin. They usually don’t pose a threat to life, but if medical intervention isn’t timely, it can certainly lead to other major complications.
Both strain and muscle weakness usually causes a hernia. The time taken by the hernia to develop depends on the cause.
Factors that contribute to muscle weakness are:
Strain can be the result of various factors such as pregnancy, constipation, ascites (presence of fluid inside the abdomen), lifting heavy weights, sudden weight gain, sneezing or coughing that lasts for a long period of time, etc.
The most commonly observed sign is the formation of a lump/bulge in the area that has been affected. Inguinal hernia throws up the symptom of a lump near the pubic bone. You will be able to feel the hernia when you touch the area while standing up. Hernia in a child can be detected by feeling the bulge when it is crying. In case of umbilical hernia, the lump or the bulge is usually the only symptom.
In a few cases, hernias can be symptomless. In such a scenario, the hernia is more likely to be detected when you go for a routine check-up or any health check-up for other problems.
Muscle weakness can’t really be prevented. But the strain you subject your body to can certainly be managed and reduced. The basic tips are:
It is vital to know and identify the initial symptoms of a hernia. Hernia that hasn’t been treated will not resolve in itself. But with timely medical intervention and by incorporating lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risks and prevent future complications.
Dr.Rajprabha Patra practiced as a Dental Surgeon for 5 years before making a switch into the business domain with an MBA from ISB. As the Product Manager for Counselling Services at Portea, she aims to make a difference in the way mental health is perceived in India.
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