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June is National Hernia Awareness Month

June 06, 2019

Did you know that nearly one million hernia operations are performed each year in the U.S.?

Hernias are abnormal bulges created by a weakness or hole, usually in the abdominal wall or groin. A hernia can also be defined as an exit of an organ, such as a bowel, through the wall of the cavity in which it normally resides. A localized bulge in the abdomen or groin caused by a hernia is a common problem that can range from pain-free to painful.

Hernias can be congenital, which are present at birth, or can develop secondary to tissue weakness in the abdominal wall or groin.

Activities and medical problems that increase the abdominal wall pressure can also lead to a hernia. Some examples of these are straining due to long-term constipation issues or urinating, persistent cough, lifting heavy items and physical exertion. Poor nutrition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, pregnancy, previous surgeries (specifically open surgeries) and smoking are also some risk factors for the development of a hernia.

Hernias can prevent people from engaging in activities that they need to or love to do, and ignoring symptoms can sometimes lead to serious complications.

Many times, a hernia diagnosis is able to be made by a physician during a physical exam. However, there are times that the hernia is difficult to see and a radiologic test like a CT (computerized tomography) scan or ultrasound may be ordered to help with the diagnosis.

There are several different avenues for surgical repair, including open surgery and minimally invasive laparoscopic (using small incisions with a laparoscope) approaches.

Many procedures now utilize mesh to lower the recurrence risk. Surgeries are performed under general anesthesia the majority of the time and on an outpatient basis, so patients are able to go home the same day as the surgery is completed.

For more information about hernias and treatment options, call 1.855.HHC.HERE