A hernia occurs when your abdominal organs slip into a hole or a weakened part of the cavity that encloses it. It usually manifests as a localized bulge or protrusion in the abdominal or groin area.
Femoral hernias account for 2% of all types of hernias and it commonly affects women because of their wider pelvic structure. It can also affect pregnant mothers and obese women.
A femoral hernia occurs when a part of the intestine enters the femoral canal. It is said that femoral hernias are dangerous because they present with no signs and symptoms at an early stage. In severe cases, the protrusion can cause strangulation of the intestines. This can impede blood flow and often requires prompt surgery.
Umbilical hernias are more common in newborns because of their weaker peritoneal cavity. In the adult population, umbilical hernias commonly affect women who are obese and those who have experienced multiple childbirths because the increase in stomach size results in thinning and stretching of the peritoneal wall.
Causes of a Hernia
The following activities or conditions can increase the pressure in your peritoneal cavity and push your abdominal organ against the peritoneal wall:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Chronic cough
- Obesity or poor nutrition
Smoking is one of the causes of a hernia even though there’s no physical exertion involved. It has been shown in a study that smoking can contribute to hernia formation at the groin because smokers have an abnormal connective tissue metabolism.
The protrusion or bulge won’t go back to its normal position unless you undergo a surgery. Prompt surgery is often advised especially if your hernia continues to grow in size and is starting to develop complications. Surgery can either be open or laparoscopic. In an open surgery, your surgeon will make a long incision at the affected area to push back your abdominal organ and sew your weakened peritoneal cavity. Recovery may take several weeks.
A laparoscopic surgery, on the other hand, is less invasive. Compared to an open surgery, there won’t be long incisions as your surgeon will only make tiny incisions and insert a laparoscope, an instrument with a camera and tiny surgical instruments at the end, to do the repair. Though recovery after a laparoscopic surgery is faster, there’s a possibility that your hernia may reoccur.
Wearing a hernia belt can help in the healing process after a hernia surgery as it can provide additional support and compression.
Though lifestyle modifications won’t make your abdominal organ slip back to its original place, they can help relieve some of your symptoms. Start with eating light meals to maintain a healthy body weight. Don’t try to lift heavy objects, especially if it’s beyond your capacity, and stop smoking altogether.
The development of a hernia can be prevented if you adopt a healthy lifestyle. Pregnant women, however, are generally at risk due to the added pressure in their belly. Fortunately,
there are available maternity belt bands that can support your growing belly and lower your risks of a hernia. These bands act like a sling or strap on the growing belly to ease and reduce the pressure in the abdominal region.