Umbilical Hernia

What is an Umbilical Hernia?Umbilical Hernia location diagram

When a person is born the umbilical cord that connects them to their mother is cut, and the resulting scar is the belly button. In infants, this muscle area in the abdomen behind the belly button does not always close up right away. This is an umbilical hernia.

The hernia is evidenced by a bulging belly button that occurs when part of the intestine is pushed through the opening. Most parents notice this when their babies cry. Typically, an umbilical hernia will resolve itself by the age of 1 year.

Umbilical Hernia in Adults

Finding an umbilical hernia in adults is not uncommon. They are most often found in overweight adults or women who have had multiple pregnancies. Usually, they are not considered to be harmful. However, umbilical hernias in adults can cause discomfort and be linked to additional hernias. Most physicians may recommend surgery to repair the adult umbilical hernia cases, in order to prevent further complications.

Umbilical Hernia Symptoms

There are specific symptoms that tell a person that an umbilical hernia is present.

  • In infants, the belly button area will protrude when the baby cries, coughs, or strains to use the bathroom.
  • In adults, the belly button will protrude when the person coughs or strains. Extreme umbilical hernias will protrude even when the person is relaxed.
  • For many adults, the main umbilical hernia symptom is if they feel discomfort around the area of the umbilical hernia, especially after eating, participating in a strenuous activity, or when wearing clothing that is tight over the belly button region.

Signs of an Umbilical Hernia Emergency

Baby umbilical hernia pictureAn umbilical hernia emergency occurs for a few reasons but always requires immediate medical attention.

  • If the person, infant or adult, begins to vomit excessively a physician should be contacted. This can be a sign of a strangulated umbilical hernia which means that the intestine is caught inside the hernia sack.
  • Extreme pain or pain that is suddenly worse is a red flag that something is wrong. This could also be a sign of a strangulated or incarcerated umbilical hernia.
  • Should the protrusion become discolored or be increasingly tender to the touch, emergency care should be sought. Again, this could signal a strangulated or incarcerated hernia.

Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Historically, most umbilical hernias that occur in infants resolve themselves and do not require treatment of any kind. Umbilical hernia surgery is reserved for other instances.

  • Umbilical hernia surgery is suggested for infants whose umbilical hernias become larger after the age of 1 year or for those whose hernias have not disappeared by the age of 4 years.
  • If the physician finds that the intestine has become trapped within the umbilical hernia than surgery is necessary to fix the issue before it becomes life threatening.
  • For umbilical hernias in adults, surgery is almost always suggested in order to prevent complications from the hernia.

Umbilical hernia surgery involves the surgeon making a small incision just below the belly button region. The surgeon pushes the tissues involved in the hernia back into the proper places and then stitches the hernia closed. For larger umbilical hernias, a surgical mesh may be put into place to help reinforce the healing of the abdominal muscle. Most patients are discharged to go home within hours of the surgery and can return to their normal activities within a month.

Although an umbilical hernia is not always a life-threatening  occurrence, they should still be monitored and treated by a physician.

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Sports Hernia

Sports Hernia picture

What is a Sports Hernia?

A sports hernia occurs as a result of the weakening of the muscles in the lower abdominal cavity. This can be caused by tear in the tendons that attach to the lower abdominal muscles as a result of an injury. These types of injuries usually occur in a person playing a sport which often requires the person to be in a forward bent position. Sports such as football and wrestling are just examples. This is why it is called a sports hernia. With this being said, anyone can actually develop a sports hernia.

Sports Hernia Symptoms

Sports hernia symptoms historically come on slowly. A person with a sports hernia may experience an aching that develops slowly. The pain then may increase and spread to other parts of the body such as the lower abdomen or the groin area. In men, there may be pain in the testicles that is not otherwise explained.

Sports hernia symptoms are worsened by a variety of events.

  • Exercise may cause the pain to worsen or become unbearable. This includes activities such as running and bending forward down to the ground.
  • A cough or a sneeze can bring on increased pain in a sports hernia.
  • Sexual intercourse can also cause increased discomfort to a person with a sports hernia.

Diagnosis of a Sports Hernia

If people should suspect that they are suffering from a sports hernia, then they should seek help from their physician. Their physician will use information gathered from a physical examination, diagnostic tests, and family history of hernia’s to determine if the person indeed has a sports hernia. The main diagnostic test that your physician may request is a MRI. Used previously to detect causes of groin pain, it has proven to be quite useful in diagnosing sports hernias.

Treatment of a Sports Hernia

SSports Hernia football pictureMost physicians will try the “wait and see” approach when treating a sports hernia. The belief is that most sports hernias will heal themselves. Many doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofren to help with the inflammation in the tissues involved in the sports hernia. In addition, doctors have also prescribed physical therapy to strengthen the muscle area involved. Some people also try ice therapy where an ice pack is applied to the area for 20 minutes every few hours as a way to help reduce inflammation. Rest seems to be the number one thing prescribed above all else.

Surgery is the only treatment that has been proven to completely alleviate the symptoms of a sports hernia. The surgery involves the repair of the herniated tissues and the repair of the muscles and tendons that were affected by the hernia. In most cases, after several weeks of physical therapy most people were able to return to their regular level of activity.

If you were to ask a football fan what is a sports hernia, the answer may shock you. To them, a sports hernia is an injury that could ruin a player’s career. What they don’t know is that most football players who have suffered from a sports hernia return to play the next season.

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What is a Hiatal Hernia?

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

A hernia that pushes the stomach through the hole in the diaphragm known as a hiatus is a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia can go unnoticed for some time until a doctor discovers it during a routine exam. For some, symptoms may alert the person of a hiatal hernia.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

hiatal herniaSmall hiatal hernias generally have no symptoms and therefore go unnoticed. Larger hiatal hernias have symptoms that resemble Gastric Reflux Disease although more extreme.

  • Heartburn
  • Excessive belching which sometimes results in vomitting
  • Problems with swallowing (often as a result of the stomach pushing against the esophagus)
  • Persistant fatigue (due to loss of sleep from discomfort or heartburn)
  • Unexplained weight lose or loss of appetite (for fear of developing heartburn)

Hiatal Hernia Treatment

Hiatal hernia treatment consists of both medication and surgery, although surgery may not always be necessary.  Medication is typically used to treat the symptoms of the hiatal hernia.

  • Antacids are suggested by physicians to help relieve heartburn associated with the hiatal hernia. These can generally be found over the counter at any drug store or can be prescribed by a physician.
  • H-2 receptor medication that reduces the production of acid may be suggested by your physician to help prevent the heartburn caused by a hiatal hernia. Medications such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac) can be purchased over the counter. Stronger doses of these medications must be prescribed by your physician.
  • Another type of medication used in hiatal hernia treatment prevents the production of the acid that causes heartburn and helps heal the esophagus. These medications can also be found over the counter, but for stronger doses, a prescription from a physician is required.

Hernia Surgery is the other hiatal hernia treatment available. It is usually reserved for those who do not respond to medication to control the symptoms of a hiatal hernia or in emergency situations which often involve larger hiatal hernias. It involves pushing the stomach back into place and repairing the hole in the diaphragm so that the esophagus fits correctly in it and does not allow the stomach to push back through.

Hiatal Hernia Diet

hiatal hernia dietA hiatal hernia diet resembles the diet that is used to treat GERD and other digestive disorders. This is because of the ability of the diet to reduce the amount of acid producing foods ingested by the person. Some people may not choose to follow the hiatal hernia diet because it restricts the amount of their favorite foods that they want to have. However, studies have shown that many people who follow the hiatal hernia diet along with taking the proper anti-acid medication can reduce their symptoms significantly.

By having a stronger knowledge of what is a hiatal hernia and the treatments available for a hiatal hernia, a person who is diagnosed with one can managed the symptoms and reduce the chances of emergency surgery. Remember to follow your doctor’s orders and to seek medical attention whenever you notice your symptoms worsening.

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What is Hernia?

What is Hernia?

If you’ve never had a hernia, count yourself among the lucky. If you ever had to ask the question what is hernia or have been recently diagnosed with a hernia you probably aren’t feeling so lucky. A hernia can be a painful, bothersome condition that can affect how you live your life everyday. Knowing what is hernia, how to recognize that you may have one, and how to treat it can make a person who has just been diagnosed with one feel just a little better.

Epigastric hernia

Position of epigastric hernia

Defining a Hernia

What is hernia? Here is the definition. A hernia is a tear or a weakened area in the abdominal muscle wall. Your abdominal muscle wall holds all of your organs in place and helps protect them from external dangers such as a sucker punch to the stomach. When the wall develops a weakened spot or a tear, it’s ability to protect and maintain the placement of your organs also weakens and therefore is a hernia.

Symptoms of a Hernia

A hernia makes itself known by presenting symptoms to the unlucky patient. These symptoms range from mild to severe. The severity of the hernia symptoms helps determine the course of treatment.

  • One of the strongest hernia symptoms is pain. The pain is usually localized to a particular area in the front of the abdominal region or in the groin, depending on where your hernia is actually located. The pain can range from mild to severe. Eating certain foods, participating in excessive exercise, heavy lifting, or external trauma can make the pain even worse. If for any reason you notice that your pain is suddenly worse than any of the pain you have felt thus far, seek emergency medical treatment as this can be a sign of a worsening condition.
  • Another symptom that indicates what you are feeling is a hernia is the swelling or ballooning of a particular area of your abdomen. This is caused by the internal organs pushing their way through your abdominal wall.

Complications Associated with Hernias

Many hernias do not need treatment and do cause the person any problems. However, there is a risk of complication should the hernia worsen.

  • One complication associated with a hernia is an incarcerated hernia. This occurs when a part of an organ becomes caught inside the hernia sack. This can lead to death if not treated immediately by surgery.
  • Another complication associated with a hernia is a strangulation. If the hernia becomes strangulated then blood flow is cut off to the organ that became incarcerated. This is the worse complication that can occur with a hernia. If a hernia becomes strangulated it can lead to a painful death as a result of toxins released into the body from the dying organ.

Treatment of a Hernia

There are a couple of ways to treat a hernia and treatment is dependent upon the severity of the hernia.

  • For those with a hernia that is minor and does not need immediate surgery, a hernia belt may be the treatment chosen by the person. A hernia belt is a supportive belt made from stretchable fabric and wide elastic bands. The belt works as an external muscle wall by taking over where the person’s muscle has failed.
  • Surgery is another treatment option. Generally, surgery to repair a hernia involves inserting a mesh material and sewing the muscle to the mesh. As the muscle heals it grows over the mesh closing in the hernia.

What is hernia? Well, you must have now been able to answer the question. If you find that the hole in your abdominal wall is a hernia then be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. If at anytime you notice that your pain level has changed or if you notice that the area where you hernia is becomes discolored, seek medical help immediately.

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