Hernia

A hernia in Latin means rupture. To simplify, a hernia is a swelling seen following rupture of the muscle. Typically, a swelling is seen at the navel in some individuals. This means that the wall at the navel has become weak.

How does a hernia develop?

The first event is usually a rupture of the muscles. If you imagine the abdominal wall as a sandwich, you can understand this condition easily. The abdominal wall has different layers namely

1.       Skin

2.       Fat

3.       Muscle.

4.       Fat

5.       Peritoneum

The first and last layers are similar to the bread on the outside of a sandwich. The middle layers especially the muscle is responsible for the strength of the abdominal wall. Due to various conditions, muscle weakness causes the loss of this strength leading to a hernia. Thus, a hernia consists of only the two bread layers with occasionally a stretched muscle.

Causes of hernia

A hernia could be present since birth or develop later in life. Fetal developmental problems lead to hernia at birth. Causes of hernia later on include obesity, lifting of heavy weights, coughing, straining to pass urine or stools, fluid in the abdominal cavity. Also, a family history of hernias can make you more likely to develop a hernia.

Diagnosis

Any swelling that increases in size on straining like coughing and can be reduced manually is a hernia. The exceptions to this rule are a hernia which has complications like blocked contents. In such a situation, one is unable to elicit either increase or decrease or both in hernia size. Here, an ultrasound examination can confirm the suspicion.

Treatment of hernia

Surgery is the only treatment for a hernia. A hernia is like a hole in your shirt. The earlier you get the shirt stitched the longer it lasts. Surgery is advised for hernia to prevent complications like blockage of bowel function or cut of blood supply to the intestines.

Laparoscopic or open surgery

The laparoscopic hernia repair allows patients to return to their normal routine much more quickly. Some people can return to work in just a few days. Recovery from the conventional surgery takes a little longer because there is more pain and soreness around the wound. After surgery, a patient is be guided by the amount of discomfort he or she feels. Any activity, such as driving, that causes pain and puts a strain on the incision should be avoided until it can be comfortably tolerated. The same holds true for work. People with desk jobs usually can return to work within a week or two.

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