A hernia is when an organ bulges or protrudes through a defective gap in the abdominal wall. Males and females of any age can have hernias. Hernias can occur in various locations such as the abdomen, belly button, groin, and upper thigh. A common hernia occurs in the groin area mainly affecting males and is called an inguinal hernia. Surgical repair of an inguinal hernia is the most common surgery performed in children and teenagers.
Generally, a hernia is not a serious medical condition. However, there could be a potential risk of becoming strangulated. If the blood supply is cut off, then it becomes a medical emergency.
SYMPTOMS OF HERNIAS
There are a range of symptoms depending on the severity of the hernia from painless lump in the area around the groin or abdomen to a painful and tender protrusion. In more severe cases, nausea and vomiting may occur.
WHAT CAUSES A HERNIA?
Hernias may have developed from a congenital defect from birth, but become more apparent after straining the muscles in the abdominal area. Hernias can also develop from an incision from prior abdominal surgery.
Some types of body strains that could induce a hernia are heavy lifting, constipation, persistent coughing, sneezing, weight gain, and pregnancy.
HOW TO PREVENT HERNIAS
While little can be done to prevent a weak abdominal wall, there are some tips to help keep hernias from developing or worsening.
Avoid heavy lifting. But, if lifting heavy object, do so properly, bending at the knees not the waist.
Eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, keep hydrated.
Exercise. Maintain a healthy body weight.
Regular physical check ups.
Severe hiatal hernias will usually require surgery to remove the protrusion and repair the stomach lining. However, surgery is usually the last resort after more conventional treatments such as diet and lifestyle changes have failed to resolve or control the problem.
Certain foods have been known to irritate hiatal hernias more than others. Spicy or fried foods are the biggest offenders because they increase the production of acid in the already irritated stomach lining. They also cause the stomach to bloat which increases pressure on the hernia. Avoiding these foods can decrease the symptoms.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided as much as possible. All of these cause increased acid production and bloating as well as irritation to the stomach lining. Instead drink plenty of water to cleanse the esophagus and the stomach.
Honey is a natural healer. It reduces inflammation and soothes irritation. Mixing one teaspoon of honey in a glass of water and drinking it helps to coat the irritated area and decrease the symptoms.
An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, it can also keep away the symptoms of a hiatal hernia. Consuming a red apple daily has been known to reduce symptoms in some people.
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