01 July 2016

Hernias and how to know the signs and symptoms

Original Story: mydaytondailynews.com

As you bend down to pick up the groceries, all of the sudden you feel a pop and have shooting pain in the abdomen — or worse yet, in the groin. Maybe that pain is where you have a scar from surgery. Could these be the first signs that you are dealing with a hernia?

As a very common surgical problem, hernias can cause pain and discomfort that can make even day-to-day activities difficult. Sometimes a bulge or a lump appears where the hernia has occurred, accompanying symptoms of pain. Whether or not a bulge is visible, you may be dealing with a hernia, and surgery may be necessary.

“A hernia is a hole in the muscle or abdomen where there should not be one,” says Christopher Schneider, MD, a Kettering Physician Network surgeon and co-director of the Hernia Center at Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek. “Hernias can occur anywhere in the body including in areas that are not easily seen. Most often the hernia is located in one of the groin regions or at the belly button. Previous surgeries can weaken the abdominal wall, making hernias more likely to occur along an existing scar.”

In adults, after a hernia forms, it will never go away. The discomfort (and usually pain) that comes from the hernia is a result of other structures of the body (like the bowel or fat) pushing through that hole. “If the lump does not go away or if the pain continues to increase, this could indicate a bigger problem,” says Dr. Schneider. “The bowel or fat could twist on itself and then die off. A hernia in that situation becomes an emergency and could be life threatening.”

Recognizing the symptoms of a hernia early and being examined by a doctor are important. Signs and symptoms include a new bulge that comes on suddenly and pain that does not go away.

Even after a hernia has already been repaired there is still always the possibility that it will return. “Activity too soon after surgery, smoking, significant coughing, obesity and uncontrolled diabetes can all cause difficulty healing and lead to another hernia,” says Dr. Schneider. “Sometimes, even though a person has done nothing to aggravate it, a hernia can still come back.”

Other risk factors of a hernia include chronic constipation, difficult bowel movements and a family history of hernias.

Dr. Schneider recommends that your doctor examine any new lump, bump, or bulge. Not all hernias need surgery, but all of them should be looked at and discussed in order to prevent emergency situations from happening and to assure long term health.

Kettering Health Network is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare system that improves quality of life through healthcare and education. The Network has eight hospitals: Grandview, Kettering, Sycamore, Southview, Greene Memorial, Fort Hamilton, Kettering Behavioral Health and Soin. The network’s 10 emergency departments and four trauma centers make up one of the largest and most advanced networks of emergency care in the state of Ohio.

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