What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a visible bulge in your belly or groin region. An organ or any other tissue pushing through the wall of a muscle that’s keeping it in place is the cause behind a hernia. The bulge will be, usually, soft and will go away once you push it back in or lie down. However, you will experience pain while coughing, sneezing or bending and even while lifting heavy objects.
It is exceedingly important to see a doctor before any complications develop. A hernia, usually, is not capable of self-healing and surgery is the recommendation for getting it fixed. However, hiatal hernia repair without surgery can happen. Most of the hernias are abdominal i.e. they occur in the belly and groin region. In this post, we are going to discuss the major type of hernias that occur in the belly region.
Types of Hernias That Develop in the Belly Region
Umbilical Hernias develop near the belly button or navel. This region tends to be naturally weak due to the presence of blood vessels that aroused from the umbilical cord. Majorly, umbilical hernias occur in infants at the time of their birth. However, in infants, umbilical hernias resolve on their own when a baby reaches 3 to 4 years of age.
The same is not true for adults. If you develop a case of an umbilical hernia you will notice a bulge around your belly button or navel. It is extremely essential to consult your doctor and get the surgery done for repairing the same as umbilical hernias, in adults, worsen with time.
The major causes of developing umbilical hernias in adults are being overweight and excessive coughing. In women, pregnancy can lead to the development of an umbilical hernia as well. This case of a hernia is the second most common of all hernias.
If you have had a surgery in your abdominal region, chances are there that you could develop a hernia at the incision site in later part of your life. There is no specific time frame within which an incisional hernia can develop. They can happen days, weeks, months, or even years after the surgery. Incisional hernias can be extremely small or large as well.
If you suspect that you have developed an incisional hernia on the operation site on your abdomen, it is essential to get the same rectified from the doctor immediately. This is important as incisional hernias have high chances to worsen with time. In all the cases, you will have another surgery to repair an incisional hernia. These hernias are difficult to treat as their chances of recurring are high.
However, with proper abdominal strengthening exercises, you can develop your abdominal muscles and keep them strong. This will prevent an incisional hernia from happening in the very first place.
Hiatal hernias, unlike other hernias, involve the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates your abdominal region from the chest region. You know that oesophagus or the food pipe runs from your mouth, enters the chest cavity, and through a small hole in the diaphragm connects to the stomach.
In the case of a hiatal hernia, a part of the upper region of your stomach passes through this opening and enters into the chest cavity. Unlike other hernias, you won’t notice any bulge in this case but symptoms of heartburn and chest pain are present.
Sometimes, you won’t get any symptoms and moreover, the symptoms that do occur can be confused with a digestive problem. Hiatal hernias have a high tendency to go unnoticed. They, usually, come up when you are on a routine visit to your doctor and he/she happens to notice a case of hiatal hernia while routine scanning.
Hiatal hernias can be of two types; sliding and paraesophageal. In the case of a sliding hiatal hernia, the part of the oesophagus that joins with the stomach bulges out of the hole. However, in the case of paraesophageal hiatal hernia the upper region of the stomach bulges out from the hole and comes in the immediate neighborhood of the oesophagus.
Paraesophageal hernias can become critical as the protruding part of the stomach is highly prone to strangulation. In the case of strangulation, the blood supply to that portion of the stomach will get cut-off and situation can get extremely critical. In strangulated cases of hiatal hernia, doctors advise immediate surgery to put the bulging out part of the stomach back in its original location.
Epigastric Hernias are common in men. In the case of an epigastric hernia, fat pushes through the belly anywhere in the region between the belly button and the lower part of the breastbone.
These develop, often on the right-hand side of the abdomen. In case of Spigelian hernias, an intestine or an empty sac protrudes through a weak spot on the muscle fibers of the abdominal wall. Since Spigelian hernias develop between the muscles and don’t protrude through the layers of fat, in most cases, there is no visible bulge or protrusion on the abdomen. This makes Spigelian hernias difficult to detect.
The common symptoms of Spigelian hernias are constipation, dull pain in the abdomen and pain that happens while bending or stretching. The major causes of Spigelian hernias are excessive turning or twisting while playing a sport, excessive coughing, being overweight, injury in the abdominal region and straining while defecating.
Spigelian hernias often develop later in life when the abdominal muscles have become weaker.
The best way to prevent a hernia from happening in the first place is to keep your abdominal muscles strong by participating in an abdominal strengthening routine. You don’t require hitting a gym to target your abdominal muscles. You can do at your home itself as there are a lot of body weight exercises for strengthening your abdominal muscles. However, if you do suspect a hernia, immediately rush to your doctor so as to avoid further complications.