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Hernias: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Hernias: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

If an internal body part pushes itself into an area where it does not belong, then it is called a hernia. For instance, the intestine parts may break through a weak area in the abdominal wall.

Hernias commonly happens in the abdomen, but it can also appear in the belly button, upper thigh, and groin areas. Most hernias are not life threatening, but they do not go away on their own and require surgery in order to prevent potentially dangerous complications. In this article, we will share with various symptoms, causes, and treatments of this painful disease.

What are the main types of hernias?

1. Inguinal

It is the most common type of hernia and it occurs when any part of bowel squeezes through the lower abdomen and into the groin.

2. Hiatus

It occurs when part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.

3. Femoral

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This type of hernia happens when any fatty tissue or any part of bowel pushes through into groin at the top of inner thigh.

4. Incisional

It occurs when any tissue pushes through a surgical wound in the abdomen that has not healed completely.

5. Umbilical

When fatty tissues or any part of bowel pushes through abdomen close to the navel.

6. Epigastric

It’s when fatty tissue pushes through abdomen between breastbone (sternum) and belly button.

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7. Spigelian

This happens when part of bowel pushes through the abdomen by stomach muscles below the belly button.

8. Muscle

It happens when part of muscle pushes through the abdomen sometimes after a sports injury.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

Generally, a hernia can easily be felt or seen on your body. Some other important symptoms of hernias comprise of:

  • Pain when exercising
  • Constipation
  • An uncomfortable feeling in the gut
  • The lump gets smaller when you lie down
  • The lump gets bigger when you cough

You can also gently press on hernia to make sure that it’s not a non-reducible hernia. After that, watch out for symptoms which will suggest that yours has become strangulated:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe pain

If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. In many cases, surgery is needed to remove it completely. If it’s not treated immediately, it may increase the risk of gangrene.

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What are the causes of a hernia?

The real cause of some types of hernias can’t be pinpointed, but many types of hernias are due to any comparatively weak spot in the abdominal wall, increased pressure within the abdomen, or a combination of these two.

In adults, hernias commonly develop in pregnant women and obese people due to the increased pressure on the abdominal wall.

In men, the hernia will commonly develop in the groin, specifically in a region called the inguinal canal. This is where the blood vessels to the testicles and spermatic cord pass out of the abdominal cavity and into the scrotum. Weak abdominal tissues can allow the bowel loop to pass-out of the abdomen through the spermatic cord path or between the opening into the pubic bone and inguinal canal.

Generally, umbilical hernias are present at birth. Adults may develop this when there is a weakness in tissue in the umbilical area along with increased pressure on the wall of abdominal.

How can we diagnose a hernia?

Hernia diagnosis is usually simple- your doctor can see it and feel it easily. Your doctor may also ask you to cough or to bend or move.

In order to visualize the problem, the doctor can also arrange a bio-imaging test, such as a (computerized tomography) scan or an ultrasound scan.

What are the treatments for a hernia?

For a normal hernia without any symptoms, a usual course-of-action is to watch and wait. But, it can be hazardous for certain types of hernias, like femoral hernias. There are various ways to cure a hernia, but a hernia cure without surgery is one of the best ways to get rid of this disease. Here are two popular ways to cure this ailment:

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1. Lifestyle changes

Some dietary changes can usually treat the symptoms of a hernia. You should avoid heavy or large meals, keep your body weight in a healthy range, and do not bend over or lie down after a meal.

Besides, you can improve symptoms by avoiding foods that cause heartburn or acid reflux, such as tomato-based foods and spicy foods. In addition to this, you can avoid reflux by giving up cigarettes and losing weight. If changes in your diet do not eliminate discomfort, you may need medication and surgery to correct a hernia.

2. Surgery

Nowadays, hernias are removed from the body with the help of surgery. Although the surgical option of hernia removal depends on individual circumstances, including its location, there are mainly two types of surgical intervention:

  1. Open surgery
  2. Laparoscopic operation (keyhole surgery)

Open surgery needs longer recovery process and you may be unable to move around normally for up to 6-9 weeks. Whereas laparoscopic surgery has a shorter recovery period. However, the hernia recurrence risk is higher in a laparoscopic operation.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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