When Can an Inguinal Hernia Occur?
An inguinal hernia occurs when intestine or other tissue pushes through a weak spot in your groin muscle. This is the most common form of hernia, usually in men but can occur in women. This happens because the muscle does not close completely as it should before birth.
What Are The Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia?
Symptoms of an inguinal hernia include a bulge or lump in the groin or scrotum. This can occur suddenly or over years. Some hernias can also cause pain. Sudden or persistent pain, nausea and vomiting and a lump that does not go away could indicate a trapped (incarcerated or strangulated) hernia. This can be serious and you should call your doctor right away.
How Is It Diagnosed and Is Surgery For Me?
An inguinal hernia is usually diagnosed with a history and physical exam by your doctor. Occasionally an x-ray might be recommended.
Hernia surgery is the only way to treat an inguinal hernia. It will not heal or go away on its own. If your hernia is bothering you surgery is likely to be recommended to relieve symptoms and prevent complications from strangulation. Small hernias without symptoms may never need repair.
Surgical hernia repair can be done with an “open” traditional approach with an incision directly over the hernia or with minimally invasive surgery with three tiny incisions. Each has pros and cons and there is no “best” way. Open hernia surgery can be done with local anesthesia with sedation, but requires a larger incision and return to full activity can take longer. Laparoscopic hernia repair can result in less scarring and quicker return to full activity but requires general anesthesia and introduces a tiny risk of injury to the intestine or urinary bladder. If you have hernias in both groins (bilateral) or a hernia that has come back after an open repair, laparoscopy may be a very good choice. Usually either type of hernia repair is done as an outpatient so you can go home the day of hernia surgery.
All inguinal hernia repairs utilize mesh, a soft plastic screen, to strengthen the groin muscles. With open repair this is placed on top of the muscle and with laparoscopic repair, under the muscle. Your surgeon at CCS will help you decide the best type of repair for you based on your specific condition and what is most important to you.
What is a Ventral Hernia?
A ventral hernia is a defect in the strong layers of your abdominal wall. This may be a result of congenital defect, as a result of injury, excessive strain, or as a result of prior surgery. This may show up with an abdominal bulge or with abdominal pain. Once you have a hernia, this will not fix itself. Surgery is the only effective treatment for ventral hernia. This can be done with open surgery through a single larger incision or with laparoscopic surgery using several smaller incisions and a camera. Either way, placement of a mesh is often required for repair. Your surgeon will discuss the options with you and customize the treatment to your situation.
Constipation after surgery is very common for a variety of reasons including anesthetics and narcotic pain medications, alterations in diet and fluid intake, and changes in physical activity. It is important to prevent or treat constipation early before it becomes severe.
Here are measures you can use to prevent or treat postoperative constipation:
- Maintain physical activity such as walking to the degree your recovery allows; lying in bed is the worst
- Stay hydrated with several glasses of water or other liquids per day
- Take a non-prescription stool softener daily such as Colace, Surfak, Metamucil or others according to package directions
- You may require a laxative. Start with Miralax, which is relatively mild. The dose may be doubled or tripled if you do not get satisfactory results. Milk of Magnesia may be used but is harsher. Drink water right after taking any laxative.
- If the combination of stool softener and laxative does not alleviate your symptoms, the problem may be the presence of hard stool in your rectum acting as a plug. You may GENTLY place a rectal suppository such as Dulclax to help remove that plug. If you try this twice but still have had no results, call our office at 336 387-8100.
Our hernia repair patients come to us from Winston-Salem, Burlington, High Point, Greensboro, Kernersville and nearby locations.