How to Minimize Pain After Hernia Surgery


There will undoubtedly be pain after hernia surgery. Your abdominal area will be sore and you will experience pain and discomfort when you move around, cough and shower. Your pain will generally not be as intense for the first 24 hours after your surgery as it is on the second day or two. The surgery recovery time is usually longer for an open surgery repair than it is for laparoscopic surgery. The good news is that your pain after hernia surgery can be minimized with proper precautions and care.

Doctors in surgery
Doctors in surgery (Image: Jochen Sand/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Step 1

Minimize strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting immediately following your hernia surgery. Performing strenuous activities can cause increased pain if the incision site has not healed.

Man resting
Man resting (Image: Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Step 2

Walk as soon as you are able in accordance with your doctor’s orders. Walking will promote blood flow and circulation, which will assist the healing process.

Men walking
Men walking (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Take your pain medications as prescribed by your physician. Light physical activity is important to your recovery. The pain medication your doctor prescribed will assist you in minimizing your pain while you are moving around.

Man holding pills
Man holding pills (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Step 4

Keep the incision clean to avoid pain associated with an infection.

Wash cloth on towels
Wash cloth on towels (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Step 5

Apply ice packs to the surgery site area. Ice packs will reduce swelling while numbing the area, which will help minimize your pain.

Ice cubes
Ice cubes (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 6

Avoid constipation. Since your abdomen will be sore after hernia surgery, constipation could cause you discomfort and pain. Eat plenty of fiber and drink fluids to help you stay regular. Sport drinks, juices and soup are often recommended for the first 24 hours after your hernia surgery.

Woman carrying juice
Woman carrying juice (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 7

Enlist your spouse, relative or friend to help you for the first 24 hours. Your helper will be able to retrieve items for you to assist in your pain avoidance.

Woman rinsing greens in sink
Woman rinsing greens in sink (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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Tips & Warnings

  • Since it is painful to get up from a lying position for the first few days after hernia surgery, you may want to sleep in a recliner for the first couple of nights.
  • Prevent the recurrence of a hernia by maintaining proper weight, avoiding constipation and strengthening your abdominal muscles.
  • If eating fiber and drinking fluids do not help with your constipation, you may need to purchase an over-the-counter laxative. It is a good idea to have such a product on hand before your surgery as constipation is a notorious side effect of hernia surgery and can cause quite a bit of discomfort.
  • Should you develop a fever of greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, swelling in the groin area or bleeding, speak with your doctor right away, says the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. A fever could indicate an infection either at the incision site or the mesh used to repair the surgery. Similarly, if there is excessive redness, pus or leaking around the incision, seek immediate medical attention as your incision may be infected (see Reference 1).


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