A sensation of localized weakness in your abdominal or groin region, or a slight bulge in the same area may be an indication that you have developed a hernia. It is quite a common condition with more than 1 million hernia repairs being performed every year in the US alone.
A hernia is a protrusion of tissue through an outer muscle or connective tissue layer. It can be caused by simply lifting something heavy or any kind of activity that puts pressure on the abdominal wall such as coughing or straining during bowel movements. Being obese can also increase your risk of developing a hernia. Some people may be born with weak abdominal musculature that may further deteriorate due to age-related wear and tear resulting in a hernia.
Many patients ask if their hernia will go away on its own. If your hernia is small and not causing you any pain or discomfort, your surgeon may recommend a wait-and-watch approach. This means you must be mindful of not straining the area and watch for any increase in size or development of pain. Unfortunately, the hernia will not go away on its own. The only definitive cure for hernia is surgery.
Most people prefer not to go under the knife if they have any other option. This is especially true if the hernia is not causing them any discomfort. However, most hernias tend to worsen with time. Large hernias that are not repaired may descend into the scrotum or a loop of intestine may become trapped in the hernia resulting in severe pain, nausea, and vomiting. The condition may progress to life-threatening gangrene.
Most of the worries regarding surgery may be put at ease with laparoscopic surgery to repair the hernia. Advanced laparoscopic technology allows your surgeon to efficiently perform hernia repair through key-hole incisions minimizing blood loss, injury to surrounding tissue, and recovery time. Patients are often allowed to return home the very next day after surgery.
If you have a hernia that is causing you discomfort then you should see a doctor right away. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, but suspect you may have a hernia, visiting your doctor or a qualified surgeon in your area will help put your mind at ease regarding your condition.