What is a hernia?

What is a hernia?

What is a hernia?

Is there a bulge at a previous surgery site, or between your chest and hips, or in your groin?

This lump could potentially be a hernia, and the only way to find out is to visit a doctor, such as Dr Stephen Watson.

A hernia is caused by a tear in your muscle or tissue, which results in an organ pushing through.

Hernias are usually more common in people whose abdomens are under more pressure than normal. This may include being overweight, pregnant, have chronic coughing, have chronic constipation, or do a lot of heavy lifting.

Types of hernias

Inguinal hernias

This is a groin hernia and is the most common and affects more males than females. Occurs when the bowel or other abdominal tissue pushes through the abdominal wall into the groin area.

Femoral hernias

The bowel or other abdominal tissues push through the abdominal wall into the upper part of your inner thigh, the femoral canal. This is a groin hernia and is more common in females.

Incisional hernias

The bowel or other abdominal tissue pushes through the abdominal wall where a surgery has taken place. The abdominal wall is weakened by surgery or trauma, which is the cause for this type of hernia.

Hiatal hernia

A part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm separates the chest from the abdomen.

Umbilical hernia

The bowel or other abdominal tissue pushes through the abdominal wall near the belly button. This is common in newborns, however women who had multiple pregnancies can also develop this hernia.

These are the most common types of hernias, however not every hernia that you can suffer from is listed here.

What are symptoms of a hernia?

Firstly, not all hernias have symptoms!

Common symptoms include:

  • Bulge in affected area
  • Cough
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pressure
  • Pulsing sensation around bulge

Hernias can have more severe symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Shooting pain
  • Constipation

If you have a hernia, which is a lump which becomes soft or cannot be pushed back in, go to the emergency department as hernias can cause blockages, infections and organ strangulation.

What causes a hernia?

Some common causes for hernias include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Ageing
  • Straining to go to the toilet
  • Persistent cough
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Abdominal fluids
  • Overweight
  • Lifting heavy loads
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Physical exertion
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Weak muscles
  • Pregnancy
  • Weakened tissue due to surgery

Diagnosis and treatment of hernias

If you think you may have a hernia, Dr Stephen Watson and his team can help you. Please book in for a general surgical appointment.

Dr Stephen Watson will perform a physical exam which will usually tell if you have a hernia, however further tests may be ordered to assess the condition. This can include an ultrasound, x-ray, CT scan, or an endoscopy.

Treatment options for a hernia will depend on the location and state of your health.

Simple changes such as diet, activity and habits may be suggested to try and help reduce your hernia, however if your condition worsens, surgery may be required.

Dr Stephen Watson offers laparoscopic surgical options, such as:

Laparoscopic Abdominal Hernia Repair

This surgery is used to fix tears in the abdominal wall, using a small incision, telescopes and a patch. The patch is a mesh that is used to strengthen muscles and tissue over time. The mesh can be temporary and made from dissolving materials or a permanent option for long term support.

Laparoscopic Incisional Hernia Repair

This surgery also uses a small incision, telescopes and a patch. The same mesh which can either be temporary or permanent.

Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair

This includes both inguinal and femoral hernia repair, which are also referred to as groin hernias. These hernias require surgery as they can have harsh consequences and do not fix themselves.

Inguinal hernias are commonly repaired by the surgeon pushing the bulging tissues back into the abdomen and stitching and reinforcing the damaged abdominal wall back up.

Hernias can be treated by Dr Stephen Watson, however this does not mean it will be a permanent fix, as hernias can come back; however, the mesh reduces the chances.

If you suspect you suffer from a hernia, please contact Dr Stephen Watson and the team in Perth to book in for an appointment. We will be able to suggest the most appropriate action to treat you. Please ask us any questions about hernias or other surgeries we offer by contacting us here.

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Due to the recent COVID lockdown in Perth, hospital schedules, including surgeries booked for this coming week may be disrupted.

Dr Watson and his team are working very hard to help his patients during this time.

Patients who have booked or would like to book for surgery are encouraged to get in touch.
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