Hernias are a common medical ailment but also misunderstood and often need to be treated quickly. Although most of them occur between the chest and hips area, there are a few different hernias types. We will address the symptoms and causes followed by the diagnosis and treatment.
A hernia develops when an organ or other body part breaks through the muscle wall and creates a bulge. The cause is most often weakened muscles since birth or due to aging. The muscle can also become weakened by physical exertion, constipation, pregnancy, or obesity.
There are a few symptoms of a hernia, but the most common one is a lump or bulge's appearance. This bulge might be more prominent when the person is laughing, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement. Other symptoms include pain at the lump location or noting the size of the bulge increasing over time.
A primary care provider can diagnose a hernia. Your doctor will likely see or feel the bulge where the hernia is located during the physical exam. A CT scan will help your doctor confirm the diagnosis.
Hernias are unlikely to get better on their own, which is why it is essential to see a doctor as soon as you identify the issue to have a successful recovery. It is also likely that your doctor will refer you to a general surgeon to have the hernia repaired, and these kinds of operations are some of the most common types performed in the United States.
Hernias can be very dangerous if left untreated. They can grow larger and more painful over time. A severe complication of an untreated hernia includes obstruction or strangulation, which are both very concerning, in the latter can lead to tissue death or gangrene. It's important to visit your doctor as soon as you experience any of the symptoms above.