Hernia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Hernia occurs when a part of an organ protrudes through the muscular fiber that has the role of keeping that organ in its place. This usually happens due to a weakness that appears in the muscles that are around the organ, and causes them to tear and let a part of it come out through the small opening that is created. That part of the organ that protudes will create a proeminent bulge that can usually be seen.

Hiatal hernia (often referred to as hiatus hernia) is the protrusion (or hernia) of the upper part of the stomach into the thorax through a tear or weakness in the diaphragm. Hiatal hernias may develop in people of all ages and both sexes, although it is considered to be a condition of middle age. In fact, the majority of otherwise normal people past the age of 50 have small hiatal hernias.

Causes

While specific causes are not really known, hiatal hernias have been associated with the following:

1. Pregnancy and delivery
2. Weight gain
3. Increased abdominal pressure from chronic coughing
4. Straining during difficult bowel movements

First of all there may be a mechanical cause. Improper weight lifting, hard coughing bouts, sharp blows to the abdomen, tight clothing and incorrect posture may contribute to the development of this problem. Improper lifting may be (though not necessary) the biggest mechanical cause of this disorder. If the air is not expelled out of a person’s lungs during lifting, it can force the stomach into the esophagus. So be careful with that.

Symptoms

Some people who suffer from hiatal hernia usually don’t have any symptoms at all. However, hiatal hernia can generate symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain and discomfort and nausea. Most people affected by hiatal hernia suffer from heartburn, which usually intensifies after meals. This common symptom of hiatal hernia occurs due to reflux of the stomach content inside the esophagus. When doctors suspect the presence of hiatal hernia in patients, they usually perform additional tests in order to confirm the clinical diagnose.

Irreducible hernia, just as its name suggests, can not be pushed back. This usually means that an old hernia is transforming, and complications can appear. It can easily lead to strangulation of the tissue. It also has some other different symptoms like vomiting. Strangulated hernia, a form that is more dangerous, as mentioned before strangulates an organ or tissue and it cuts its blood supply. This type of hernia can also present vomiting symptoms and the strangulated area is always painful.

Treatment

Hernia is a problem that can be treated. Its repair may be performed under local or general anesthesia. Even though is a safe surgery, hernia repair is not recommended for all the patients. Many factors may influence the choice of having a surgical intervention. These factors include age, health the type of hernia. Complications may occur if the patient is a smoker or an alcoholic.

The best treatment for primary inguinal hernias is considered to be the Lichtenstein repair. Not being a hard to do procedure this type of treatment may be used by non-specialist surgeons too. The results of this intervention are less pain and a smaller period of recovering. For bilateral hernias a laparoscopic repair is not only recommended, but necessary. There are some factors that influence the choice. One of them and one of the most important factors are the pores size. The mesh should not contain pores smaller than 10 um in diameter because these may develop bacteria that makes the pores inaccessible to leukocytes.