This is a protrusion through a weakness in the abdominal wall. It can be either external or internal.
What to look for
- swelling in the abdomen or groin.
- a heavy feeling in the abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by constipation.
- discomfort in the abdomen or groin when lifting or bending over.
A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue squeezes through a hole or a weak spot in a surrounding muscle. The most common types are inguinal, incisional, and umbilical.
In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall in the groin. Most hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.
In an incisional hernia, a hernia can develop at the site of an operation, the muscles have not healed properly.
In an umbilical hernia, the location is near the naval. Common in newborns, it also afflicts obese women or those who have had many children.
People can be born with weaknesses that make them prone to develop a hernia. The condition can also develop from heavy lifting, strenuous exercise or a persistent cough, poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion all can weaken muscles and make hernias develop.
Anything that causes muscle strain can then induce hernia, including obesity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhoea or constipation, or persistent coughing… Ultimately, all hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain: A weak spot in the muscle tears under the pressure of strain, and an internal organ or tissue then pushes through the tear.
A doctor’s physical examination is often enough to diagnose a hernia. Sometimes you will be able to feel it yourself on the side of the abdomen or groin.
In babies, umbilical hernias frequently heal themselves within four years, making surgery unnecessary.
Usually, however surgery will be required. It is important to get your hernia seen to by a doctor because if it is left untreated, the protruding organ may become strangulated (have its blood supply cut off), and infection and tissue death may occur as a result.
If you suspect you have a hernia you must seek conventional treatment, as natural therapies will not eliminate a hernia. Alternative treatments will however relieve the discomfort.
Homoeopathy – If the hernia is on the right side of your body, take lycopodium clavatum three times a day for a few days. For general hernias, take 6C or Calcarea fluorata in tablet or liquid. If the hernia is on the right side of your body, take lycopodium clavatum three times a day for a few days. For general hernias, take 6C or Calcarea fluorata in tablet or liquid.
Lifestyle – Gentle exercise on a regular basis tones and strengthens stomach muscles. Gentle exercise on a regular basis tones and strengthens stomach muscles.
Take care to avoid becoming overweight by practicing good nutrition and maintaining good muscle tone through exercise. Also avoid putting unnecessary strain on abdominal muscles through lifting.
When to seek further professional advice
- you suspect that you have a hernia.
- you know you have a hernia, and you are nauseated and vomiting or are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas.