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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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