You’ve been dealing with a nagging pain in your stomach. It’s been a few days now, and it doesn’t necessarily feel like a gas of indigestion or cramps. You feel a sharp tugging pain, and no matter how much you stretch, drink water, or sleep the pain just won’t go away. This might be a sign that you actually have a hernia.
What is a hernia? What are its symptoms?
Hernias are small gaps in the abdominal wall where intestines and other internal organs have popped through. When these internal organs get trapped in the gap, it can cause a tugging sharp pain and an unseemly bulge around the stomach or groin region. Other symptoms include:
- Aching and sharp pain
- Pain that worsens with physical activity
- A feeling of pressure in the painful region
- Burning sensation (for women)
- A bulge at the site of pain (for abdominal hernias)
Differences between Belly (Ventral) or Groin (Inguinal) Hernia?
Generally speaking, Ventral hernias are more common in women, and usually come with an unseemly bulge that starts to form around where is pain is coming from. A type of Ventral hernias common for patients who have had surgery on their abdomen is known as an Incisional Hernia. Nearly 30% of patients who undergo open abdominal surgery will at some point develop an Incisional Hernia.
Inguinal Hernias are more common in men and do not form a bulge. Inguinal Hernias, however, can actually be underdiagnosed in women due to how different the symptoms of Inguinal Hernias manifest in men vs women.
Do Hernia’s require emergency room visits?
No, almost all cases of Hernia do not require an emergency room visit. However, in the rare case of the bowels leaking through the hernia and getting trapped, this can cause serious complications that need to be treated immediately. If you have these symptoms it might be time to see a doctor right away:
- A bulge that is worsening in pain and does not reduce in size while resting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Racing heart rate
How do I prevent Hernias?
To prevent hernias, however, medically professionals recommend:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating enough fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain to avoid straining at the toilet
- Use correct form when lifting weights or exercising
- Speak to a doctor about persistent coughing and sneezing
The good news is that nearly all hernias can be surgically repaired. If you or a loved one have questions about Hernias, speak to a medical professional today.