How to Treat a Hernia

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A hernia is a condition in which part of the large intestine escapes through a weakness in the abdominal wall. Most of the time this condition is not critical, but hernias should be treated as soon as they appear. This article outlines a few of the treatment options available to most hernia sufferers. For our purposes, we will be focusing on the most common type of hernia, the inguinal (groin) hernia.

Things You'll Need

  • A hernia belt or truss (optional)
  • Assess the severity of the hernia. If your hernia is painful, tender to the touch and cannot be reduced (pushed back in), you should visit the emergency room, preferably within 6 hours of onset. If your hernia can be pushed back in, this is not an emergency.

  • To reduce (push in) the hernia and temporarily alleviate the discomfort, it is recommended you lie flat on your back. Choose a flat, solid surface, such as the floor. Relax and breathe slowly. If the hernia does not reduce by itself, gently coax it back in with your fingers. The hernia should mostly or completely retract. Relax a while longer and take it easy for the rest of the day.

  • Get a doctor referral to see a surgeon who will discuss the option of repairing your hernia. Hernia surgery involves sewing up the abdominal wall so that the intestine is held securely where it belongs. Some hernias cannot be operated on, so other treatments might be necessary.

  • If your hernia cannot be operated on, consider purchasing a truss or hernia belt, which can be worn under the clothes to keep the hernia inside your abdominal wall. This is a good investment, as an untreated hernia can worsen over time, increasing the chances of incarceration or strangulation.

  • Consult a naturopathic physician. He can discuss relaxation, meditation and low-impact exercise programs that can reduce the chances of your hernia becoming worse. In some cases, a naturopathic solution can make the hernia go away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Relaxation is key. If you are the type who gets stressed out, your risk of getting a hernia is greater.
  • When feasible, avoid strenuous activity like weight lifting, coughing, and forcing your bowel movements.
  • If your hernia is irreducible (unable to be pushed back in), seek medical attention immediately.
  • Incarcerated or strangulated hernias are emergencies, as these conditions can lead to a loss of blood flow to that section of the large intestine, which can lead to internal gangrene (dead tissue). Go to the emergency room.
  • The type of hernia discussed here is inguinal (groin) hernia. If your hernia is elsewhere, seek medical attention.
  • In some cases, hernia surgery can only temporarily stop a hernia. Recurrence occurs in 7 percent of hernia surgery cases.
  • Be sure to get the full story from your surgeon about the possible complications of hernia surgery.

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