For most women, and even men, a bulge is not a welcome event. Sometimes it’s what is commonly known as a “muffin top”, or it could be a love handle gone wild. Most of us know the reasons for those kinds of bulges, but when you can push that bulge back into your body, pay attention. This could be a hernia.
How A Hernia Develops
Most hernias develop due to muscle weakness and strain. When an internal organ like the intestine pushes through the protective layer of muscle and tissue around it, and through to the abdomen, that bulge is known as a hernia. A weakened abdominal wall occurs as we get older, but there are a number of other issues that can cause a hernia.
Two of the most common types of hernias are a hiatal hernia associated with gastroesophageal reflux and an inguinal hernia which shows up on either side of the pubic bone. Other hernias can occur in the top of the inner thigh, at the site of a previous surgical incision, or near the belly button.
A hernia will not go away by itself. They may remain asymptomatic for a time, but they will continue to grow and will eventually become painful.
Common Symptoms Of A Hernia
Most hernias come with some discomfort under the right circumstances. Chronic coughing can encourage a hernia to develop, cause it to grow and usually results in pain. Standing too long or straining to lift things can result in pain by the end of the day. In addition, straining during bowel movements partnered with constipation are common causes of pain from a hernia.
Be Wary Of These Symptoms
Three serious complications can occur with a hernia:
- An intestinal blockage can occur when a hernia becomes incarcerated. This means that the hernia is trapped in the abdominal wall leading to a bowel obstruction. Symptoms can be severe pain, nausea, and vomiting. If this is accompanied by the inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement, this is a serious issue requiring a visit to the doctor.
- A strangulated hernia occurs when the incarcerated hernia cuts off blood flow to the tissue causing it to become infected and/or die. This is a life-threatening situation requiring immediate surgical intervention. The symptoms are similar to the incarcerated hernia, but also with the skin near the bulge having a blue or grey color, accompanied by fever, bloody stools, and an increased heart rate. Don’t wait to seek medical attention.
- A large untreated inguinal hernia in men can result in symptoms of severe pain and swelling of the scrotum.
Never wait to see a professional if a hernia is growing larger or pain is increasing.
See your doctor today if you suspect you have a hernia and for ways to reduce strain on your abdominal muscles. Call the office of Agave Surgical Associates near Phoenix at (602) 582-5233 to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. You can also schedule an appointment online using our secure form.