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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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