If you suffer from a hernia, you are not alone with one in ten people getting a hernia in their lifetime.
At BMI The Meriden Hospital we have specialist consultants who are can give you rapid access to treatment for hernias.
If you want to book an appointment, call us today on 024 7664 7070.
What is a hernia?
A hernia (also called 'rupture') occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the surrounding muscle or tissue wall.
Abdominal hernias occur when a weakness in the wall of the tummy (abdomen) results in some of its contents pushing through under the skin giving rise to a visible bulge or lump. Normally, the front of the abdomen has several layers comprising of skin, fat and muscles which all keep the guts (intestines) and internal tissues in place. If, for any reason, there is a weak point in the muscles then part of the intestines can push through. You can then feel a soft lump or swelling under the skin.
Who develops hernias?
Hernias may arise as a result of any strain which raises the pressure in the abdomen causing a rupture of the muscles of abdominal wall. This can be caused by lifting heavy, persistent coughing, straining on water or stools or after pregnancy,being overweight or carrying or pushing heavy loads.
What are the symptoms?
Sometimes a hernia is noticed after a strain - for example, after lifting a heavy object. Sometimes hernia may develop for no good reason and you may simply notice a lump, usually in the groin area or around your umbilicus. Usually the lump can be pushed back but may pop back out spontaneously or after straining again. Coughing is a common strain that brings them out. The swelling often disappears when you lie down. Hernias are not usually painful but many people feel an ache over a hernia, which worsens after doing any activity. In time, they usually grow in size and may pose a risk of worsening symptoms and even strangulation.
What treatments are available?
In adults the only treatment for a hernia is surgical. Wearing a support (truss) was a method used in the past but is not recommended anymore. Hernia repair is one of the most common operations performed by surgeons, with over 100,000 performed in the UK annually.
This is usually a day case surgery so there is no need to stay in the hospital overnight. The hernia is repaired by either opening the tummy (abdomen) or by a 'keyhole' operation. The keyhole option is becoming more popular as the recovery is quicker compared to having an open operation. Keyhole surgery also offers the advantage that multiple hernias can be repaired at the same time. The keyhole operation is performed through three tiny cuts, the largest of which is only around 1 cm in size.
It is common that hernias are repaired by using a mesh which is a thin sheet of material and is stitched or glued over the hole of the hernia. With time, the mesh safely becomes incorporated into the muscle layer resulting in a very strong permanent repair. Newer techniques mean that people tend to be off work for much shorter periods than in the past. Even workers in heavy work can often be back in two to four weeks. The operation is usually very successful. However, hernias can return (recur) in a small number of people, when a further operation may be advised.