Let’s say you have the symptoms of a hernia and you’re concerned you might have one. These symptoms may include pain when you bend, cough, or lift something; a heavy feeling or pressure inside your abdomen; constipation; swelling underneath your skin around your groin, or a burning sensation where the swelling is.

What do you do?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to see a good hernia specialist to make sure that a hernia is actually the problem. If you are in fact diagnosed, you’ll need to decide whether to have a hernia operation or leave it alone.

Many people who are diagnosed with a hernia decide to ignore it—either because they don’t want to have an operation or they don’t have very much pain. In some cases, in fact, there’s no pain at all, and patients convince themselves to just wait and see if their symptoms become better… or worse.

However, the decision to ignore a hernia can cause serious problems down the road.

A hernia doesn’t usually get better by itself, and if left alone, it can even lead to life-threatening complications. An unattended hernia has the ability to cause bowel obstructions, as well as other very serious problems.

Although some people are able to delay hernia surgery for months or even years, it’s smart to keep in mind that over time, hernias tend to grow as the muscle wall of the stomach gets weaker with age and more tissue pushes through. Even if you take the “wait-and-see” approach, it’s important to get regular checkups in regards to your hernia.

Another thing for people with hernias to keep in mind is that many medical doctors will recommend an operation because it prevents a condition called hernia strangulation. This condition happens when a bit of intestine or fatty tissue is trapped inside the hernia and is cut off from its blood supply.

Is it dangerous to ignore a hernia?

The answer is yes. Even when they are small or painless, every hernia has the potential to grow or become a serious medical issue. Hernias do not repair themselves, and more often than not, they will have a negative effect on your quality of life.

If you think you may be suffering from a sports hernia, please consider making an appointment with Dr. Brown to see if you’re right. Dr. Brown specializes in working with hernia patients, and is an expert at the process of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.