No one will argue that a hernia does not trigger a lot of pain. Anyone who has lived with this condition for any amount of time will confirm that. While some may think that surgery is the only option, there are times when medical professionals prefer to try other approaches first. That includes using some form of hernia support as well as making some other changes. Here are some things you should know about hernias, hernia surgery, and what can be done when your doctor determines that surgery is not needed at the present time.
What Causes Hernias?
A hernia can develop for a number of reasons. Some people are unaware that a baby can be born with an abdominal wall that’s slightly weakened. The condition may not be apparent for a number of years. Eventually, some amount of pressure will lead to further weakening the wall, resulting in the hernia.
It’s also possible to develop a hernia as the result of an injury. A direct blow could cause some much damage that internal organs shift out of position. This can lead to the bulge that is often associated with hernias.
Surgery is another potential cause of hernias. When the weakened area around the incision does not heal properly and there’s not type of support during the healing, the weakened spot may not be able to provide adequate support to the internal organs. As a result, they move out of position.
Essentially, any activity that places an inordinate or prolonged amount of stress can pave the way for a hernia. Straining a little too much and too long while lifting weights will increase the chances for a hernia. Chronic coughing that nothing seems to abate could cause a hernia to develop. Even sneezing that you can’t seem to control has the potential to create enough stress and lead to this type of health issue.
What are Some Signs That You May Have a Hernia?
A continual dull ache in the groin or in the lower abdomen can be a sign that you’ve developed a hernia. Pain in the lower back that seems to spread to the front is also common. If you find that lifting objects or amounts of weight that used to cause no issues now triggers pain, there’s a good chance you have a hernia.
Should you begin to experience a lot of discomfort in the lower abdominal area or the groin when you sneeze or cough, there could be a problem. The same is true if you notice discomfort when you sit in a certain position or even when you attempt to do certain types of exercises that put more pressure on the middle part of the body.Remember that all of these signs can also be related to other types of ailments. Before assuming that you do have a hernia, it’s best to see your doctor and undergo a complete physical examination. If there is indeed a hernia present, your physician can talk with you about various forms of hernia support and how to manage your condition without having to undergo surgery.
Does a Hernia Always Cause a Bulge?
Some people think that every hernia will create an obvious bulge. In fact, there may be no apparent bulge at all. This is particularly true when the hernia has recently developed. The only way to know for sure is to have your doctor examine you and identify the source of the pain. That will determine if you need to start thinking about hernia belts and making other lifestyle changes.
Do Hernias Go Away on Their Own?
There is no evidence that a hernia will heal without some type of treatment. There are a number of ways to control the pain associated with the condition, including the use of adequate hernia support. At best, you may find that taking certain measures allow you to live with whatever discomfort the hernia causes.
Medical professionals tend to consider surgery to be the right solution only under certain conditions. That means unless the hernia is showing signs of expanding and happens to cause pain you cannot control, the recommendation usually focuses on managing the hernia instead of repairing it.
How Serious is an Inguinal Hernia?
An inguinal hernia develops due to a rip or tear in the lower abdominal wall. In many cases, this leads to displacing a bowel. That displacement is serious since it can lead to restricting blood flow to the bowel and cause it to shut down. The result is a medical emergency that is considered deeply serious.
With this type of hernia, the physician is more likely to recommend surgery designed to strengthen the weakened abdominal wall and move the bowel back into a natural position. Between the time the hernia is diagnosed and the day of the surgery, the patient is often fitted for some type of hernia support that helps to move the bowel back into the right position. Doing so prevents issues with blood flow and helps the bowel to remain healthy.
Can Exercise Help a Hernia?
Certain types of exercise can be included in your plan for general hernia support. Water aerobics that do not place much pressure or stress on the abdomen are a good example. Swimming is another way to get exercise without placing a lot of stress on the weakened abdominal wall. In both instances, the natural water pressure helps to provide some of the additional support that you need right now.
Keep in mind that even when exercising in the water, it helps to wear some type of hernia support belt or undergarment. Doing so adds to the level of support provided by the water and minimizes the risk of making the problem worse.
What About Nutrition to Fight Hernias?
As with many health conditions, your body needs nutrients to promote healing and add to your efforts of proper hernia support. There are certain foods and beverages that will be better for you as you deal with a hernia. They include:
• Fruits like apples and bananas
• Vegetables like green beans, carrots, and broccoli
• Oatmeal and other types of whole grains, either as bread or crackers
• Low-fat dairy products like skim milk or low-fate yogurt
• Lean red meats, chicken, and fish that are broiled rather than fried
• Water is definitely your beverage of choice
Keep in mind that you should consider what these foods do in terms of helping to manage any other health issue you have. For example, people with dairy allergies would not consider skim milk to be a good choice. The goal is to eat nutritious foods that help promote good health while not triggering any adverse effects.
Will Certain Foods or Beverages Aggravate Hernias?
Just as there are foods you should include in your diet, others may not be the best choice if you are living with a hernia. Try to avoid the following:
• Acidic foods like grapefruit, oranges, lemons and any juices made using these fruits
• Chocolate of any kind is off the list
• Fried foods often make matters worse
• Onions and garlic
• Spicy food in general
• Tomato-based sauces, soups, chili, or juices. That includes the sauce on your favourite pizza.
• Coffee, tea, and most forms of alcohol
• Carbonated water or any carbonated beverage
• Products made with whole dairy like milk or ice cream
You may find that some dairy substitutes do not bother you at all. For example, some people with hernias can use soy or almond milk without experiencing any distress.
Will Cold Help Ease Some of the Pain?
The use of cold packs or compresses can definitely be part of your plan for hernia support and management. Use ice whenever you seem to be experiencing a great deal of discomfort. Try applying the cold for periods of 20 minutes, then allow at least the same amount of time before applying it again.
For the most part, this type of hernia support is considered safe and will not cause any complications. Keep in mind that while the benefit is short-lived, the cold does help dull the pain and may make it a lot easier to get through the day. Even when you seem to enjoy a lot of benefit from applying cold packs, you will still need some type of hernia control device to prevent additional damage to the weakened abdominal wall.
Should You Wear a Hernia Belt?
So do hernia belts help? There is no doubt that they do. The belts help to provide a little more strength to the weakened wall tissue and prevent the internal organs from shifting and protruding any more than they already do.
You can wear hernia support belts around the clock if you prefer. They do not pose any issues while you try to sleep and they certainly provide a lot of support when you are attempting to run errands, sit at a desk, or be on your feet for most of the work day.
The belts available today are not bulky. That makes it much easier to conceal them under your clothing. In many cases, no one will know that you have to wear a belt unless you choose to tell them.
The belts are also easy to keep clean. They can be laundered with relative ease and will retain their shape. It’s a good idea to invest in several belts so there is always one to wear while the others are being laundered.
When do you start wearing the belt? Typically, you want to get one as soon as your doctor confirms that you have a hernia. The physician will provide some recommendations for the features the right belt must possess. You should notice a decrease in pain within a short time after donning the belt.
What Are Some Examples of Hernia Belt Designs?
There is more than one hernia belt design to consider. Some of the design differences have to do with gender while others focus on the type of hernia the patient is dealing with.
The belts designed with gender in mind are typically styled to make it easy to evacuate without having to remove the device. A hernia belt for female patients will help to hold in the hernia while also making it easier to use a toilet in a public facility or at home. In much the same manner, a hernia belt for male patients makes it possible to use a urinal or a toilet without having to remove the device. Along with the convenience, this also protects the privacy of the patient if there’s the need to use a public toilet.
An inguinal hernia belt is often adjustable, allowing the wearer to loosen or tighten the belt as needed. It’s not unusual for this design to also include straps that wrap around each thigh and make it easier to keep the belt in position. Other designs for different types of hernias simple encircle the lower abdomen and may use catches or Velcro to ensure the belts are secure.
What About Underwear That Provides Support for Hernia Suffers?
Along with the belts, there are also medical hernia support briefs that work well for many patients. They are especially helpful when the hernia is closer to the groin area than the waist. As with all designs, they are made using materials that can be laundered with ease.
You can use the underwear alone or along with other forms of abdominal and hernia supports. Depending on the location and the severity of the hernia, you may obtain maximum relief by wearing the underwear and a belt.
While the underwear is practical, that doesn’t mean you can’t find designs that happen to be nicer looking. You’ll find that some suppliers offer the underwear in at least a couple of colours. Some designs look a great deal like a pair of swimming trunks or even a pair of boxer briefs.
Like the belts, the support underwear of today is not very bulky. That makes it easier to wear many of your favourite outfits without any worries about awkward lines of added bulk to the middle part of the body.
So can a hernia be treated without surgery? The answer is yes. Depending on when the hernia is discovered and what sort of issues it’s causing, you may be able to manage the hernia for months or even years. While the day may come when surgery is necessary, don’t assume it’s your only choice.