What are the symptoms of a hernia and when should I be concerned?
Hernias can develop anywhere on the abdomen and the specific symptoms you may experience can vary depending upon the location of the hernia. Some general signs that you might have a hernia include:
- A visible bulge on your abdomen that may disappear when you lie down
- Abdominal discomfort and pain or pressure, especially when bending over, lifting, coughing or straining during a bowel movement
Most hernias are not painful at first. As time goes by, your discomfort may increase. If not repaired, a hernia may eventually prevent you from performing normal activities like exercising and household chores due to increased discomfort.
You should be concerned if you are no longer able to gently push the hernia back into your abdomen when you’re lying down, you notice the hernia is getting larger, or is becoming more painful.
What are the risks of not repairing a hernia?
As a hernia enlarges, the surgical repair required can become more complex. The greatest risk with prolonging surgical repair is the development of an incarcerated hernia, which can become a life threatening emergency. With an incarcerated hernia, the hernia contents become trapped in the wall of the abdomen which can cut off the blood supply to the trapped organs and tissue.
If you develop severe pain in the area of the hernia, become nauseated and/or start vomiting with no other cause or are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What should I expect when I see a surgeon for my hernia?
During your surgical consultation, the surgeon will listen to you explain the symptoms you are experiencing with your hernia and review your medical history. They will also complete a physical exam of the hernia. This will help the surgeon to determine the best option for repair. Your surgeon will also talk with you about preparing for surgery, the procedure itself, and what to expect during the recovery period.
What are the differences between outpatient and inpatient hernia care?
The majority of hernias can be repaired on an outpatient basis, which means you go home the same day as your surgery. Sometimes an overnight stay in the hospital can be recommended if the large size of the hernia requires a more complex repair or if you have other ongoing medical conditions that warrant a longer period of monitoring after general anesthesia.
What to expect after hernia surgery?
This naturally varies from patient to patient and with the size and type of hernia repair. You will experience discomfort after surgery and we will help you get through it with medications and other therapies like ice over the treated area. Many patients return to desk type work after a week. More strenuous jobs, such as those requiring heavy lifting, may not be feasible for 2-3 weeks. It is rare for patients to need extended time off of work. We will help complete any paperwork required by your employer related to your time off after surgery.
To Make an Appointment
To find out more about Hernia Repair services we offer, please call Columbia Surgical Associates at 573-443-8773 and schedule an appointment.