A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity bulge out of the area where they are normally contained. These contents, usually portions of intestine or abdominal fatty tissue, are enclosed in the thin membrane that naturally lines the inside of the cavity. Although the term hernia can be used for bulges in other areas, it most often is used to describe hernias of the lower torso (abdominal-wall hernias).
Hernias by themselves may be asymptomatic (produce no symptoms), but nearly all have a potential risk of having their blood supply cut off (becoming strangulated). If the blood supply is cut off at the hernia opening in the abdominal wall, it becomes a medical and surgical emergency as the tissue needs oxygen which is transported by the blood supply.
Types Of Hernia
Although there are many types of hernias, the following are the most common:
Abdominal wall hernia: Also called an epigastric or ventral hernia; affects 1 person in 100 nationwide. Technically, this group also includes inguinal hernias and umbilical hernias. Indirect inguinal hernia: This affects men only. A loop of intestine passes down the canal from where a testis descends early in childhood into the scrotum. If neglected, this type of hernia tends to increase progressively in size (a "sliding hernia") causing the scrotum to expand grossly. Direct inguinal hernia: This affects both sexes. The intestinal loop forms a swelling in the inner part of the fold of the groin. Femoral hernia: This affects both sexes, although most often women. An intestinal loop passes down the canal containing the major blood vessels to and from the leg, between the abdomen and the thigh, causing a bulge in the groin and another at the top of the inner thigh. Umbilical hernia: This affects both sexes. An intestinal loop protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall at the navel (but remains beneath the skin). Hiatal hernia: This affects both sexes. A loop of the stomach when particularly full protrudes upward through the small opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes, thus leaving the abdominal cavity and entering the chest. Incisional hernia: This is a hernia that occurs at the site of a surgical incision. This is due to strain on the healing tissues due to excessive muscular effort, lifting, coughing, or extreme pressure.
Symptoms of Hernia
Symptoms of hernias vary, depending on the cause and the structures involved. Most begin as small, hardly noticeable breakthroughs. At first, they may be soft lumps under the skin, a little larger than a marble; there usually is no pain. Gradually, the pressure of the internal contents against the weak wall increases, and the size of the lump increases.
Early on, the hernia may be reducible - the protruding structures can be pushed back gently into their normal places. If those structures, however, cannot be returned to their normal locations through manipulation, the hernia is said to be irreducible, or incarcerated.
Home Remedies for Hernia
Quit Smoking It is recommended to quit smoking because it increases acid reflux and decreases saliva production. Saliva helps protect the throat from stomach acid.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Caffeine increases the production of stomach acid. Also, avoiding caffeine can help a person get to sleep easier and get better quality rest. Avoiding caffeine may also relieve nervousness and mental stress. Alcohol both irritates the stomach and causes increased acid production.
Eating Healthy A balanced diet can have a serious and fast effect on a hiatal hernia. First, a balanced diet helps with weight loss, and being overweight is one of the most significant causes of acid reflux. Avoiding fatty foods helps with weight loss, and it also helps in the short-term. Fatty foods take longer to digest and allow acid to sit in the stomach longer. Removing fatty foods from the diet results in less acid with less time in the stomach.
Eating More Small Meals and Fewer Large Meals A person that eats six little meals instead of three big meals is just as satisfied and free of hunger, but doesn't get full or bloated, which causes the stomach to expand into the chest.
Elevate the Head End of the Bed Let gravity help treat the problem. Elevating the bed 6 to 9 inches will help prevent stomach acid from moving from the stomach into the esophagus while a person is sleeping. A foam wedge can be placed under the mattress or the entire head portion of the bed can be elevated. It is important to avoid merely using pillows in the bed. This can cause the neck to be contorted at odd angles during the night and result in painful back and neck problems.
Wear Loose Fitting Clothes Tight clothes put pressure on the abdomen and can cause the stomach to push up into the chest.
Login to add comments on this post.