Anyone can develop a hernia, but some people are more at risk. There are some factors of which you have no control, and then there are those you create all by yourself. Preventing one might be possible as long as you don’t add to the behaviors that make you more susceptible.
Primary Causes of a Hernia
A hernia is a tear in your muscle or tissue that allows part of an internal organ to bulge out. It starts with pressure on an organ or your intestine, and it develops when the pressure happens in the same area as a weakened muscle or tissue.
If you are born with a weakened muscle, this is a congenital issue over which you have no control. Combine this with chronic straining, and you may develop a hernia.
If you are not born with weakened muscles, you can still develop a hernia due to other factors.
They include the following:
- As you get older, muscles in your body become weaker
- Lifting heavy objects without using the proper technique
- Tissue damage from a previous surgery or accident
- Excessive coughing from smoking or having chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
- Engaging in strenuous exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Straining from frequent constipation
- Fluid in the abdomen
Any one of these or a combination can cause you to develop a hernia either immediately or slowly over a long period of time.
Ways to Lessen the Risk of Developing a Hernia
Although you cannot entirely prevent a hernia, there are some common sense and lifestyle changes you can make to lessen the risks.
Not smoking is an important change to make. Either stop or don’t start. This eliminates the issue of coughing and straining.
Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight will help you avoid a hernia.
Avoid straining when moving your bowels or urinating. If you are having trouble, see a physician.
Don’t lift anything that causes you to strain. If your job requires heavy lifting, either wear a special protective belt around your waist or talk with your supervisor. Most importantly, use the proper lifting technique.
Make high fiber foods part of your everyday diet to prevent constipation.
These lifestyle changes may not entirely prevent a hernia. They will, however, give you a favorable advantage.
Contact Dr. Shawn Stevenson at (602) 582-5233 if you notice a bulge and think you may have a hernia.