What is a hernia?
Normally, the abdominal wall of muscle protects the internal organs. When part of the abdominal wall becomes weakened through strain or other trauma, a tear in the abdominal wall can allow fat or intestines to protrude through, pressing against the skin. If left untreated, the weakened area can grow larger.

Symptoms can range from a painless lump to a severely painful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue that you are unable to push back into the abdomen. Pain or burning in the area may or may not accompany the lump.

Some hernias will show when you are sitting or standing and disappear when you lie down. Even if it’s not a hernia, a visible lump should prompt a visit to your doctor’s office.

What causes a hernia?
Not all hernias are caused by straining muscles by lifting heavy objects. Some trauma can happen prenatally, and not cause a hernia until the child is 4 or 5, or in some cases even longer. Other times, a hernia is caused by muscles weakened from years of use, in the case of older populations.

How serious is a hernia?
In some cases, the muscle wall can cut off circulation from the section of intestine protruding through and can cause complications, such as obstructed bowel.

If you think you might have a hernia, it’s important to share that information with your doctor. Hernias do not get better on their own, and may become worse throughout time.

Hernia treatment options
Treatment options at Lake Regional include both traditional open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon creates small incisions and uses a telescopic camera to guide surgery on the inside.

Advantages to laparoscopic surgery include reduced pain and recovery time, reduced chance of infection and smaller scars.

To schedule an appointment at Lake Regional General Surgery, call 573-302-2299.