If you have swelling, pain, or burning feelings in your stomach or groin then you might have a hernia. This is a relatively common health condition. It involves tissue or an organ causing a bulge when it pushes against the tissues that normally hold it into place. There are various types of hernias based on factors like the location and severity of the condition. It’s also important to know the basics of hernias like how to tell if you have a hernia. This will help to determine if you have warning signs of the condition. This is important so you’ll know the basic symptoms related to the common health problem.
Hernias happen quite frequently. For example, you’ve probably heard of someone getting a hernia from lifting stuff like heavy boxes. The problem is not clear about what this condition is, what causes it, and the symptoms to watch out for. This is critical so you’ll know the chance that you’ve experienced a hernia. In some cases, the symptoms might point to something else. That said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A doctor can also help to provide an exam and order tests to figure out what kind of hernia you might have.
What’s a Hernia?
It’s likely you’ve heard about hernias yet it’s common for people to unsure about what it is besides something you get from heavy lifting (more on that later). This condition happens when tissue or an organ pushes through a weak spot in the muscle or tissue around it.
There are different kinds of hernias. These affect areas like the stomach, groin, or belly button. You can also get a hernia from stomach surgeries.
Here are the main types of hernias:
1. Stomach hernia
This happens in the upper stomach region. It squeezes through a hole in the diaphragm, which the windpipe goes through.
2. Incision hernia
This results from a past surgery of the abdomen/stomach. This is the most common type of hernia among overweight/obese people and the elderly. It happens when they’re inactive following the ab surgery.
3. Belly button hernia
This condition is common in newborn babies. However, it’s also common among obese women and those who gave birth to many children.
4. Groin hernia
The most common type is the “inguinal” since it makes up over 95% of all groin hernias. This usually happens because men have a natural weakness within the region.
5. Femur hernia
Fun Fact: The femur is one of the body’s strongest bones. This involves the intestine going into the canal that transfers an artery into the person’s upper thigh. These hernias are most common among women and mainly those who are obese or pregnant.
It’s also important to know what often causes hernias. The main cause is when pressure is put on a weakness or hole in the muscle’s wall. The tissue/organ then moves through the weak area or opening.
A hernia can happen at different times. Sometimes it happens at birth and other times it happens sometime later in life. There are various factors that can cause this pressure including:
- Continuous coughing/sneezing
- Lifting heavy with bad form
- Bad nutrition
How to Tell If You Have a Hernia
This is important because it’s critical to know if the symptoms you have are from a hernia or something else. In rare cases, a hernia doesn’t cause any symptoms. In most situations you’ll experience symptoms and here are some of the main ones in your stomach or groin:
These symptoms might get worse if you strain your ab muscles from lifting objects, coughing, playing sports, etc. The symptoms might even get worse just by standing up, and decrease when you lie down.
These hernias will often result in a bulge that goes back when you gently press them. And that is another way on how to tell if you have a hernia The bulge could get bigger when you do certain actions like lifting heavy or coughing hard.
It’s important to get a doctor’s check-up if you experience 1+ of these symptoms. It’s especially important if the symptoms are long-term or keep returning.
There are also red flags that require emergency medical attention. If the bulge is red or purple or can’t be pushed back, these are warning signs. You should watch out for symptoms like fever, vomiting, and chills that are combined with the hernia symptoms.
These are signs that something serious could be wrong. It’s critical to call 911 or go to the hospital’s emergency room ASAP. If you don’t take that step there’s a chance the emergency could become more serious or even life-threatening.
You should also avoid being embarrassed about hernias in the groin region. It’s a problem that won’t be solved until you get medical attention.
One myth about hernias is you get them from lifting heavy objects. Like the one that stress causes ulcers (it’s actually bacteria), it’s simply false.
Here’s why lifting itself doesn’t cause hernias. The muscle involved simply gets weaker over time. It was stronger when people were younger yet over time that situation changes.
How to Prevent Hernias
Now that we’ve covered the ways on how to tell if you have a hernia, the next question is how to prevent it. There are some basic ways you can help prevent hernias. Here are some of them:
1. Use caution when weightlifting
If you want to do weightlifting then it’s important to take some key steps. For example, avoiding lifting more than you’re able to. Use proper form. Use a spotter when necessary. Taking these basic steps can help to prevent a hernia when pumping iron.
2. Eat enough fiber
Besides eating a well-balanced diet it’s also important to get enough fiber in your diet. This will help to prevent constipation. Some important foods include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Eating a high-fiber diet won’t just help to prevent constipation and hernias. It will also improve your overall digestive system. That, in turn, will help your body to process food better, which is always a plus.
3. Avoid smoking
The main reason is the coughing could trigger a hernia.
4. See a doctor if you have constant coughing/sneezing
Heavy sneezing/coughing can cause hernias. So, it’s important to visit your doctor if you have these symptoms. Besides dealing with the root causes you can also help prevent the chance of getting a hernia. It’s a bad idea to suppress coughs and sneezes.
5. Lift with your legs
You’ve heard this before but unfortunately, many people don’t follow this wisdom when lifting heavy items. For example, compare the size of your arms and legs. The power should start from your legs when lifting heavy instead of from the mid-section or arms.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
This can be done through eating right, exercising regularly, reducing stress, and sleeping well. These are basic steps that not only can help to prevent hernias but also improve your overall health. If you take this basic stop there’s a lower chance you’ll need to apply how to tell if you have a hernia.