Should I Get Treatment for My Hernia?
A hernia is a relatively common medical condition that occurs when a body part, usually an organ, bulges through the outer tissues of the body. Most hernias are located in the trunk and grown region (chest to hips) and men are particularly susceptible to this condition. If you have a hernia, you may not be aware of it. Many people don’t experience symptoms for some time, if at all. Therefore, you may be wondering: should I get treatment for my hernia?
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Read on for more information about hernias: the symptoms and treatments available and how to evaluate your options.
Symptoms of a hernia will vary, depending on the type and location that you have. The most obvious symptom is a bulge in the area of the hernia. In many cases, you will be able to see an actual lump where the organ is protruding through the muscle and skin. In addition to this bulge, you may experience more troublesome symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or pressure. More severe hernias can be very serious and ultimately lead to internal infections or blockages that will require immediate treatment.
You should seek emergency care if you experience a hernia bulge along with severe, shooting pains, inability to pass a bowel movement or vomiting. For less serious symptoms, such as pressure to the area, heartburn or difficulty swallowing, you should get an evaluation as soon as you are able to. Umbilical hernias have the highest rate of complication and should be monitored carefully if you have a baby or child who has developed one.
Only a doctor will be able to assess your situation and determine whether your hernia requires treatment. In general, most hernias in adults won’t go away on their own. There are exceptions to the rule of course, and some people live with small hernias and never experience any problems.
It is not uncommon for babies to be born with umbilical hernias and these may resolve over time. Therefore, except in the case of seriously problematic symptoms, most doctors will wait to see if a hernia goes away during growth. If it has not resolved by the age of four or five, surgical options may be considered.
In the absence of serious symptoms or cause for concern, many doctors will first adopt a “wait and see” approach before suggesting surgery. There are medications that can reduce painful symptoms and dietary and lifestyle changes can also help decrease these.
If your child has hernia, you should educate them about the symptoms and ensure they know the difference between their hernia acting up versus a normal chest pain or muscle sprain. The best solution however, is to opt for surgery to remove it from your child.
If your doctor recommends surgery, you will be glad to know that the treatment options for hernias are constantly improving. The development and increased use of surgical mesh is contributing to better outcomes for surgical hernia repair. During a repair, the injured tissue will be put back into the body cavity and the surrounding tissues sewn back up to “hold it inside.” Medical mesh, which can be of animal or synthetic origin, may be used to encourage growth of new and stronger tissue and to hold everything in place.
If you are wondering if you should get treatment for a hernia, the answer is that only a doctor can really determine that. If you have the emergency symptoms described above, you will need immediate care. Otherwise, it is best to schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as you can. You never know when the hernia will act up or become fatal to you when you least expect it.