How to Spot a Hernia

A hernia is a bulge or lump that results from a weak spot in a muscle or tissue. An organ pushes through the weakened area, causing discomfort and potential complications. Hernias occur in your abdomen, groin, belly button, or chest — they may even appear in your thigh.

Usually a hernia doesn’t hurt, but you will notice a lump. This is a good indication you have a hernia.

Hernias don’t discriminate. They can show up in women, men, babies, and children.

People who are overweight, regularly lift weights, strain when using the restroom, or have a persistent, nagging cough are at particular risk. At Trinity Bariatric Institute, we can help you manage a hernia, and Dr. Dyslin offers surgery when necessary.

Look for these symptoms of a hernia to prevent serious complications.

Bulge that grows over time

Think of a hernia like a bulge in a tire. It pushes through the supporting muscular structure to create a noticeable lump. It may look small and barely noticeable at first. Often, you can push it back into place when it’s small. But with time, the bulge grows. It becomes more noticeable when you stand up.

The size of your hernia may also increase when you do something strenuous. The lump may be most obvious when you laugh, cough, or strain while lifting a heavy object, such as weights at the gym or moving furniture.

Pain around the bulge

You may feel pain in the area before detecting the lump. Or, the lump will ache, but not be tender to the touch. Over time, you may notice that the bulge prevents you from doing certain activities. It can cause burning pain.

Inguinal hernia symptoms

An inguinal hernia occurs in the abdomen, but very near the groin. You may notice a bulge on either side of your pubic bone. Your groin may feel heavy and weak. Men may experience pain and swelling around the testicles when the intestine descends into the scrotum.

Hiatal hernia symptoms

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes through a weakness in your diaphragm into your chest. Instead of a bulge, you get heartburn, chest pain, and symptoms like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which include a sour taste in your mouth and difficulty swallowing.

Complications of a hernia

Untreated hernias may continue to grow and result in greater pain. You may also experience swelling and pain in surrounding areas as the hernia puts too much pressure on nearby tissue. A hernia can even pinch a nearby nerve.

Symptoms of a serious complication

It’s possible for a hernia to become strangulated, when a muscle closes the hole as your intestine pushes through. That makes the lump feel tender, and it may darken, too. A strangulated hernia, often a life-threatening medical issue, can cause severe symptoms including:

Serious belly pain

If you suspect you have a hernia, don’t ignore it. At Trinity Bariatric Institute, we can help. We diagnose a hernia during a physical exam or with imaging tests, as in the case of a hiatal hernia. Dr. Dyslin will then offer the best treatment plan for your condition. Call the office or schedule a consultation online to have your suspected hernia evaluated today.

Recovering From Hernia Surgery: What You Need to Know

Your hernia surgery is usually performed using laparoscopic or robot-assisted surgical techniques. These minimally invasive strategies lead to faster healing and less noticeable scarring, but that doesn’t mean you can skip recovery time.

Your hernia may be located in your abdomen, bellybutton, upper thigh, or groin. Recovery from surgery to any of these areas is similar. You get full discharge instructions before you go home, but knowing about recovery in advance of surgery can help you prepare yourself about what to expect as you heal. You also want to heed precautions so you can return to normal activity as soon as possible.

Recovery is different for everyone. Always contact us at Trinity Bariatric Institute if you have excessive soreness or the signs of an infection. You may need a little more or less recovery time, depending on your body’s rate of healing and the type of surgery you experienced.

Right after surgery

Following laparoscopic or robotic hernia surgery, you can expect minimal pain at the incision sites as they’re rather small. Most of the discomfort you experience is due to the distention of the abdominal wall muscles caused by the gas used during the procedure.

You might experience cramping and discomfort for about 24-48 hours, but this quickly subsides so that you’re back to most of your normal activities within a week or two of surgery.

Return to work

Because the procedure requires the use of general anesthesia, expect to take a couple days off from work following surgery. It’s common to have lingering effects for 24-48 hours after you received the anesthesia. The effects of the anesthesia can impair concentration and your ability to drive.

Whether you can return fully to your job depends on your duties. If you have an active job or one that requires heavy lifting, you need to take more time off than if you have a job that’s sedentary. Discuss your particular situation with Dr. Dyslin, and he can make individualized recommendations for you.

Having sex again

You can resume normal sexual activity as soon as it causes no pain. This could take just a few days up to a few weeks, depending on your hernia location and the type of surgery you underwent. Some discomfort may occur when you first resume relations, but sex shouldn’t cause harm to your surgical repair.

Diet recommendations

Following hernia repair surgery, consume lots of high-fiber foods — such as fruits and vegetables — as well as plenty of fluid to avoid constipation, which can develop due to pain medications and inactivity. You may need a laxative or stool softener to get things moving.

Resuming normal activity

In about two weeks following laparoscopic hernia surgery, most people can return to regular lifting. Some activities may continue to cause you discomfort, however. As time goes by, you’ll notice this discomfort occurs with less and less frequency.

If you have any concerns during recovery from hernia surgery, or you don’t feel like you’re recovering as quickly as you should, call our office or contact us online. We’re available to answer any questions you have before or after hernia surgery.