An inguinal hernia happens when tissue, such as part of your intestine, bulges through a weak spot in your abdominal muscles. This bulge can be painful, especially when lifting a heavy object, twisting, bending over or coughing. Though uncomfortable, an inguinal hernia, is not life threatening or dangerous (unless it becomes incarcerated or strangulated, in which case you should seek immediate medical attention); however, it will not improve or heal itself over time.
Humans adapt. If you’ve been dealing with an inguinal hernia for some time, you may not notice just how much you’ve adapted your routine and body movements to avoid aggravating the pain that comes with this condition. Inguinal hernia repair is one of the most common surgeries. Dr. William Brown advises his patients to repair the hernia without mesh at a time when it’s convenient for you, but before traveling to areas where medical care is scarce and after your body is in optimal condition for healing post-surgery.
Depending on the type of inguinal hernia you have (either direct or indirect), there are some common causes for it. Knowing the cause can give you peace of mind, as well as help you avoid experiencing another inguinal hernia down the road.
The seven most common causes of inguinal hernias are:
- Increased pressure within the abdomen, which can result from strenuous, repetitive movements, weight gain or other factors.
- A weak spot in the abdominal wall that tears and allows the tissue to bulge through. These weak spots can result from having a weak core, muscle strain and more.
- Conditions that cause you to strain to have a bowel movement or urinate, such as chronic constipation or prostate problems and more.
- Exercise or a sport that puts stress on your core area or a one-time activity that strains the abdominal muscles, like lifting heavy landscaping rocks or even your groceries.
- Pregnancy, which strains abdominal muscles and increases weight and pressure in the area.
- Chronic coughing and/or sneezing that stresses the abdomen.
- A combination of any of the above.
For some patients, there is no obvious cause for their inguinal hernia. The weakening of the abdominal muscles could have existed since birth or could have slowly developed over many years.
If you suspect you have an inguinal hernia or you’ve been diagnosed with one and are seeking an experienced surgeon to repair it without using mesh, contact Dr. Brown to discuss your options.