What Are Hernias And How Are They Repaired?

Learn exactly what the several types of hernias are and how they are repaired.

A hernia is an opening or a weak area in the wall of a muscle, according to "The PDR Family Guide of Medical Care", which was published in 1997 by Three Rivers Press. When a portion of an internal organ protrudes through this weakened area or opening a lump is usually visible. The same book says the majority of hernias occur in the groin or abdominal area.

"The American Medical Association Family Guide", which was published in 1982 by Random House, Inc., describes in the following, several types of hernias, their symptoms, risks, and treatments. The first is a paraumbilical hernia. This type of hernia is located around the area of the navel. Possible symptoms of a paraumbilical hernia are constipation, pain in the abdominal area, and a feeling of abdominal heaviness. The recommended treatment for this type of hernia is surgery.

An epigastric hernia is generally a small hernia in the center of the abdomen between the chest and the navel. Possible symptoms of an epigastric hernia are belching, occasional vomiting, and indigestion. A hernia of this type can be left alone if it is not causing pain. If there is discomfort, the recommended treatment is surgical repair.

Femoral hernias are located in the lower groin and are most common in women who are over their ideal weight and have had several children. Symptoms of this type of hernia are often undetectable unless there is a blockage or a strangulation. This can lead to gangrene if medical attention is not sought. The standard treatment for a femoral hernia is surgery.

An inguinal hernia is also located in the groin but slightly higher than a femoral hernia. There are usually no symptoms other than a heaviness in the groin area. Strangulation and obstruction is only a slight risk. The recommended method of treatment for this type of hernia is surgery.

Incisional hernias are not common, but they can occur after an abdominal surgery. A person who is overweight and inactive is most likely to have this type of hernia. Symptoms of a large incisional hernia are sharp pains in the abdomen and/or constipation. An elastic support may temporarily be worn to help this condition, but surgery is recommended.

A hernia can be dangerous if not properly treated. "The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care" provides the following recommendations for care of a hernia. It says to avoid straining, hard coughing, and heavy lifting. A high fiber diet is suggested that includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It is very important to seek the advice of a doctor for further treatment.

"The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care" advises contacting a doctor immediately if any of the following complications occur. It says a doctor should be contacted if there is extreme pain at the site of the hernia, or if a fever is present. Immediate medical care should be sought if there is a high fever, nausea, vomiting, increasingly severe abdominal pain, or if the hernia is protruding through the abdominal wall, feels firm, or appears to be gray.

According to the book "Symptoms: Their Causes & Cures", published in 1994 by Rodale Press, the majority of doctors recommend surgical repair for hernias. It says that hernia repair is usually a minor surgical procedure that often takes less than an hour. Most people are able to go back to work and participate in routine activities anywhere from two to four days following surgery. The same article says that wearing an elastic band, also known as a truss, is not a long-term solution, and surgery is the only way to permanently repair a hernia.

© High Speed Ventures 2011