A hernia occurs when one of your internal organs or tissues pushes through a weak spot in your surrounding muscle or connective tissue. It can be a source of discomfort and concern, but can it resolve on its own without medical intervention?
Dr. Aliu O. Sanni and our team at Eastside Bariatric & General Surgery in Snellville, Georgia, are hernia repair experts, so you can rely on us for the answer to this question.
Recognizing the symptoms of a hernia
The symptoms of a hernia can vary depending on the type and location. Common signs include a visible bulge or lump, especially when coughing or straining, accompanied by discomfort or pain in the affected area.
Other symptoms may include a feeling of heaviness or pressure in your abdomen, groin, or pelvis, along with aching or burning sensations. In some cases, hernias can cause nausea, constipation, or difficulty passing stool or gas.
Understanding the healing of hernias
While some small hernias might not cause immediate pain or complications, unfortunately, hernias typically don’t resolve on their own. Instead, they tend to progressively worsen over time if you don’t get the appropriate treatment.
But the course of action for managing a hernia can vary based on its size, location, symptoms, and your overall health.
Small hernias, such as umbilical hernias in infants, may sometimes close spontaneously within the first few years of life as the abdominal muscles strengthen and develop. But this is an exception rather than the norm.
In adults, hernias usually don’t heal on their own and often require medical attention.
The dangers of ignoring a hernia
Ignoring a hernia can lead to potential complications. As your hernia grows, there's an increased risk of the trapped organ becoming strangulated or obstructed.
Strangulation occurs when the blood supply to your herniated tissue gets cut off, leading to severe pain and potential tissue damage, necessitating emergency surgery.
The most common treatment for hernias is surgical repair. During the procedure, Dr. Sanni pushes the protruding tissue back into place and reinforces the weakened muscle or tissue with stitches or synthetic mesh to prevent recurrence.
While elective surgery is often recommended to prevent complications, the approach might vary based on your health status and your type of hernia.
In some cases, Dr. Sanni may suggest a watch-and-wait approach for asymptomatic or minimally bothersome hernias, especially if you’re elderly, frail, or someone who might not tolerate surgery well.
We encourage close monitoring and regular checkups so we can address any changes or complications promptly.
Managing your hernia with lifestyle modifications
You can make some wise choices that can help manage your hernia. For example, avoiding heavy lifting, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture can reduce strain on the affected area and potentially alleviate your symptoms.
But these measures won't cure a hernia; they can only provide temporary relief or slow its progression.
What to do if you have a hernia
If you have a hernia, make an appointment with our team as soon as possible. A timely medical evaluation and appropriate treatment can help manage your hernia effectively and prevent potential complications.
We’re here to provide early detection and intervention to ensure the best possible outcome. Call us at 201-565-0876 or click here to send us a message today.