An abdominal hernia isn’t something you hear about every day but is more common than you may think. While it can happen to anyone, it is often more common in males. But how will you know if you have an abdominal hernia? Several very obvious symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor so they can give you a diagnosis. Here’s a look at seven symptoms of an abdominal hernia as well as some basic information about the condition including treatment options.
What Is an Abdominal Hernia?
An abdominal hernia is no different than any other hernia; the name simply refers to where the hernia is found on the body, i.e., the abdominal region. People may suffer from an abdominal or groin hernia – both of which are common. But as mentioned above, hernias in general tend to be more common in males, especially when it comes to groin hernias.
When you have a gap or a space in the muscular wall, there is a chance the abdomen contents push through and protrude. While it can happen to anyone, those who have recently undergone abdominal surgery are at higher risk.
You Notice a Protrusion and/or Swelling
The most obvious symptom of an abdominal hernia is a protrusion or swelling in the abdomen. This can appear suddenly and be quite large or small. If you touch the protrusion, it is often tender and even painful. When you lie flat on your back, it may seem to disappear as though it’s not protruding anymore.
Pain and Discomfort in the Abdomen
This particular symptom can be indicative of a variety of issues, so it’s best not to rely on this one alone. If you have pain in your abdomen, especially when you bend over or when you lift objects, it could be a sign that you have an abdominal hernia. It can be a sharp pain or just mild discomfort. It may not even be the pain you feel in the bulge; instead, it is a constant aching or burning sensation in the region. Booking an appointment with your doctor should you have pain is the smart step, but if the pain suddenly becomes much worse and more severe, it is best to go to the emergency clinic immediately. You don’t want to wait to get an appointment.
If you’ve suddenly developed unexplained heartburn and it’s not common for you, a hernia can be to blame. Heartburn can often be associated with your diet, so if you’ve changed nothing about your diet but you now have heartburn, this is when it’s “unexplained”.
A Change in Bowel Movements
This is a very broad category, and again it can signal a variety of issues. In general, if you see blood in your stool and/or you are suffering from constipation, it’s best to talk to your doctor.
Feeling Nauseous and/or Vomiting
You may also get to the point where you feel nauseous and even vomit. This can be another common sign and one that shows you need immediate attention.
A Sense of Fullness or Bloating
Some people will describe having a full feeling, as though they have eaten a huge meal even though they didn’t. It can also be described as bloating, where your stomach is filled with gas or air, which is very uncomfortable.
Racing Heart and Fever
Two symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored and warrant immediate emergency attention are a racing heart and/or fever. An abdominal hernia is just one possible reason.
What Is the Treatment Plan?
Once diagnosed with an abdominal hernia, the question becomes, what is the treatment plan? In most cases, your doctor will recommend that the hernia is repaired. This can be done through surgery, which in most cases will be straightforward. For a more complex abdominal hernia, surgery will be more involved, and you can expect a longer recovery time both in and out of the hospital.
General surgeons can perform a laparoscopy to fix the hernia. During this procedure, they will make small incisions on the abdomen and then insert a tube that has a camera and light attached. This device is called a laparoscope.
You can contact the Circle Health Group to find an experienced private general surgeon to perform the laparoscopy, as general surgeons are well versed in this procedure. The other incisions that have been made by the surgeon will be used to insert other tools to repair the hernia. By the end of the procedure, you will no longer have a hernia, or protrusion.
If you suspect you may have an abdominal hernia, use this as a checklist of symptoms to determine if you should see a doctor and whether or not it warrants an emergency clinic visit. Remember, the best way to get an answer is to get an official diagnosis.