The battle against illness doesn’t end with treatment. After successfully fighting any disease, your body will need to heal to normalize functions, regain strength, and optimize health. This is applicable to all types of conditions, whether severe or mild. A particular example is hernia, a condition characterized by the bulging of tissue or a part of an internal organ through a muscle in the abdomen or groin. Accordingly, there are various types of surgical intervention for a hernia. This article will discuss treatment options, as well as several ways to improve recovery time after a hernia surgery.
What is Hernia?
According to an article reviewed by Dr. Andrew Gonzalez of Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, a hernia is a lump in the abdomen or groin that usually causes neither pain nor harm. In some cases, however, it can be a cause of physical affliction. The Cleveland Clinic reports that other than the abdomen or groin, a hernia may also occur through a surgical scar, in the diaphragm, or around the navel.
There are several types of hernia including incisional, inguinal, umbilical, and hiatal. Each one has a different set of risk factors and treatment options. In general, all types of hernia are relatively easy to diagnose and can usually be detected by simply looking for or feeling the lump.
More often than not, the hernia doesn’t trigger any discomfort and necessitate medical attention. However, some types may be associated with pain that grows when lifting heavy objects, standing, or engaging in strenuous activities. If increased soreness and swelling of the bulge is observed, it’s recommended to consult a medical professional.
According to Medical News Today, there are some instances when a hernia requires immediate surgical operation. This is often the case when an inguinal hernia obstructs a part of the digestive tract. If an inguinal hernia causes acute abdominal symptoms like nausea, cramps, and vomiting, immediate treatment is needed. These signs indicate that the bulging has become firm and soft. Thus, it’s difficult to push the bulge back up into the abdomen through natural means. As for hiatal hernia, a symptom that necessitates treatment is acid reflux. This occurs when stomach acid reaches the esophagus, consequently leading to heartburn.
The American College of Surgeons states that elective or non-emergency surgery is deemed inessential in many cases of hernia. However, other health experts recommend that surgical procedures be conducted to remove potential risks. For instance, strangulation of the digestive tract—a severe medical emergency—may occur in later stages. This is a complication that happens when blood is hindered from reaching an area of tissue. Therefore, some medical authorities suggest that conducting routine surgical repair is better than having to perform a risky emergency operation.
Options for surgical intervention depend on individual variables such as the type and location of the hernia. However, there are two main types of surgical procedures for hernia repair: open surgery and laparoscopic operation.
In open surgery, the hernia is closed using mesh or sutures. On the other hand, the laparoscopic operation uses a laparoscope which allows a surgeon to make smaller incisions that require a shorter amount of time to heal.
Hernia Surgery Recovery Time
You are likely to experience pain for a number of days in the post-surgery period. According to the Alberta Health Services, flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and fever may also show. However, this phase appears to be common and discomfort is likely to go away within a week. In addition, you may feel some movement in the hernia repair such as pulling or twinges. It’s also normal to notice bruising around the area of the incision.
It’s recommended that you get enough sleep to boost your body’s recovery process. It’s also good to do some daily brisk-walking—adding more minutes in each session every day. Experts assert that walking improves blood flow and prevents complications like digestive problems and pneumonia.
You must avoid all strenuous physical activities, including lifting heavy items. As for starting certain activities like driving or having sex, you should inquire for your doctor’s recommendation. With regards to returning to work, most individuals are asked to take at least one to two weeks off.
You may notice that your appetite is poor several days after the surgery. This is normal as long as you don’t feel nauseated or show an inability to take in liquids.
It’s suggested that you consume healthy whole foods. It’s also advisable to drink lots of fluids unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. If you experience irregular bowel movements, increase your intake of dietary fiber. University Hospitals also recommend taking two tablespoons of milk of magnesia twice a day to prevent constipation.
You may be asked to stop taking certain drugs. Wait for the go signal of your doctor before taking them again. As for prescribed medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics, take them as directed by your doctor.
Around 36 hours after the surgery, you may be allowed to take a shower. Remove the gauze on your incisions before showering. As for the bits of tape attached on your skin, it’s okay to keep them when you shower. Soaking in hot baths or swimming in the pool is not allowed for at least two weeks.
When the tapes start peeling up on the ends a week or so after the surgery, you may remove them if you prefer. However, if you have strips of tape directly attached on the incision, leave them until they fall off by themselves or as instructed by your doctor. If your incision has been closed using staples, you need to visit your doctor to have them removed after a week or two.
Use warm, soapy water to wash the area and gently pat it dry with a clean cloth every day. Don’t use any solution as they can interfere with healing. Cover the area with a gauze bandage to prevent the wound from being rubbed into clothing. Change it daily.
Attend all of your medical appointments. Be observant when it comes to health changes. If you experience problems such as high fever, chills, increased pain, inflammation and pus draining from the incision, signs of a blood clot, prolonged constipation, and nausea, please seek immediate treatment.