Do you know constipation, acid reflux and respiratory problems are some of the unexpected causes that can lead to hernia? A hernia is a condition often experienced in the abdomen, groin, or upper thigh regions where the organs are pushed out to form a bulge. A hernia results due to the weakness in the surrounding tissue or muscle wall.
There is no specific reason for a hernia to have occurred. Abdominal surgery and older age are some of the risk factors associated with a hernia. It is especially common in men than in women.
Types of Hernia
A hernia can be classified into 5 types based on their location and reason of origin
- Inguinal Hernia: It is most common in men, formed in one or both sides of the groin or scrotum. They are commonly caused due to weak spots in the groin area near the spermatic cord, or due to straining of the weak tissues while lifting heavyweights.
- Hiatal Hernia: These are caused when the stomach or oesophagus slide up into the chest, through the diaphragm. Symptoms like acid reflux or heartburn are commonly observed. In this type the stomach is strangulated, cutting off the blood supplies to the required tissues. These are usually results of the revival of previously cured hernias.
- Umbilical Hernia: A type of hernia that occurs in women during or after pregnancy, this occurs in the umbilicus or the navel.
- Femoral Hernia: A weakness near the femoral artery results in a femoral hernia. Commonly found in women in the upper thigh region.
- Incisional Hernia: Those with previous surgeries in the abdomen are at risk of incisional hernia. It occurs as the intestine pushes weakened areas of the abdominal wall.
There are a few common symptoms that occur to help identify hernia:
- Lump in the groin or abdominal region
- Pain or burning sensation on the lump
- Chest pain
- Pain on coughing, sneezing, or lifting objects
- Acid reflux
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
While the bulge and discomfort associated with hernia make it easier to identify, there are some unexpected symptoms that must also be taken into account to get the right treatment for hernia. They are ones that require immediate medical attention. Some of these unexpected symptoms are:
- Constipation and Obstructed Bowel Movement:
Difficulty in defecating is one of the most concerning effects of hernia. It may also result in difficulty to urinate. The cause is, as the intestines experience pressure it may strain the intestinal muscles resulting in a hernia. The large intestine, small intestine, or colon may be trapped externally by the hernia, or be caused by other internal factors such as scars or tumours that have remained. Mild constipation is also a worrying symptom of hernia, that must be treated before it turns severe.
- Acid Reflux and Chest Pain
These symptoms are caused by hiatal hernia. Heartburns are caused as the acid from the stomach goes back into the oesophagus leading to chest pains. If this occurs persistently, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is treatable but this acid reflux can cause other complications in the body like hoarseness of voice, sleep apnea, pneumonia, or even cancer. The stomach pushing onto the chest can also cut off the blood supply to the tissues.
- Incarceration or Tissue Entrapment
This occurs if a hernia is not repaired for a longer period of time. The incarcerated tissues can be the bowel, omentum, or other abdominal tissues. If it enlarges, it causes nausea and pain. It is, however, easy to remove manually under the effect of anaesthesia.
If the hernia is caused by the stomach being pushed into the chest, it can cut off the blood supply to the trapped tissues. Tissue damage can lead to gangrene and necrosis. It is the least expected kind of hernia but requires immediate medical attention. Nausea, vomiting, fever, and darkening of the hernia are indicators of this.
- Respiratory Problems:
Acid reflux, persistent coughing are some of the respiratory problems that can result in a hernia. Acid reflux can cause irritation to the throat and result in constant coughing, hoarseness of the voice, or even pneumonia. Those with asthma and sleep apnea may also suffer from acid reflux, especially at night. If these are not treated, sleep apnea can even lead to heart attacks.
It is better to get your hernia treated as soon as possible. On noticing one or more symptoms, you must visit your doctor immediately. The best treatment is to undergo surgery. The surgeries are either open hernia surgery or laparoscopic surgery. The possibility that hernias can recur must not be disregarded by the patient. Other treatments include ayurvedic, allopathic, and homoeopathic medicines. However, if one of the unexpected symptoms arise, visit your doctor immediately as your hernia is putting you in other health risks as well.