What does a hernia feel like for a female
Laura Sweet was an active, upbeat year-old saleswoman living in Santa Monica, Calif. The discomfort resulted in many visits to the emergency room, referrals to various specialists, wrong diagnoses and a daily cocktail of painkillers. Her once-sunny disposition turned morose, and her vigorous workouts declined to a measly 20 minutes of walking a day. Her sorry tale could be repeated by countless women who, like Ms. Sweet, had hidden abdominal hernias, a condition that most doctors — including gynecologists and surgeons — rarely consider or know how to find. Unlike hernias in men, which are far more common, those that afflict women are usually small and internal and rarely cause an obvious bulge.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Inguinal Hernia Symptoms and Treatment
How Hernias Present in Women
A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall. Many hernias occur in the abdomen between your chest and hips, but they can also appear in the upper thigh and groin areas. Sometimes they can require surgery to prevent dangerous complications. The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump in the affected area.
For example, in the case of an inguinal hernia , you may notice a lump on either side of your pubic bone where your groin and thigh meet. Discomfort or pain in the area around the lump may also be present. Some types of hernia, such as hiatal hernias , can have more specific symptoms. These can include things like heartburn , trouble swallowing , and chest pain.
In many cases, hernias have no symptoms. You may not know you have a hernia unless it shows up during a routine physical or a medical exam for an unrelated problem. Your doctor can assess your hernia and determine how it can best be treated. Hernias can cause complications that are life-threatening.
Early medical care and lifestyle changes can minimize symptoms. However, surgery is the only way to effectively treat a hernia. There are different types of surgeries available to repair hernias, and your surgeon can advise on which one is right for your condition.
The prognosis for hernia repair surgery is generally very good, but can depend on the nature of the hernia, your symptoms, and your overall health. In some cases, the hernia may recur following repair.
Hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Depending on its cause , a hernia can develop quickly or over a long period of time. To diagnose your condition, your doctor will first perform a physical examination. During this examination, your doctor may feel for a bulge in your abdominal or groin area that gets larger when you stand, cough, or strain.
Your doctor will then take your medical history. They may ask you a variety of questions, including things like:. Your doctor will also likely use imaging tests to aid in their diagnosis. These can include things like:. If a hiatal hernia is suspected, your doctor may use other tests that allow them to assess the internal location of your stomach:. They may repair your hernia by sewing the hole in the abdominal wall closed during surgery. This is commonly done by patching the hole with surgical mesh.
Hernias can be repaired with either open or laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera and miniaturized surgical equipment to repair the hernia using only a few small incisions. During open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision close to the site of the hernia, and then pushes the bulging tissue back into the abdomen. They then sew the area shut, sometimes reinforcing it with surgical mesh. Finally, they close the incision. Not all hernias are suitable for laparoscopic surgery.
If your hernia requires an open surgical repair, your surgeon will work with you to determine which type of surgery is best for your condition. After your surgery, you may experience pain around the surgical site. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help ease this discomfort while you recover. Contact them promptly if you notice any signs of infection such as fever, redness or drainage at the site, or pain that suddenly worsens.
Following your hernia repair, you may be unable to move around normally for several weeks. Additionally, you should avoid lifting objects heavier than 10 pounds during this period. This is approximately the weight of a gallon of milk.
Open surgery often requires a longer recovery process than laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to your normal routine. There are several different types of hernias. Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. These occur when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal. This type is also more common in men. The inguinal canal is found in your groin.
This cord holds up the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place. These hernias are more common in men because the testicles descend through the inguinal canal shortly after birth. The canal is supposed to close almost completely behind them.
Explore more about inguinal hernias. A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into your chest cavity. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that helps you breathe by contracting and drawing air into the lungs.
It separates the organs in your abdomen from those in your chest. This type of hernia is most common in people over 50 years old. Hiatal hernias almost always cause gastroesophageal reflux , which is when the stomach contents leak backward into the esophagus , causing a burning sensation. Get more information on hiatal hernias. Umbilical hernias can occur in children and babies.
This happens when their intestines bulge through their abdominal wall near their belly button. An umbilical hernia is the only kind that often goes away on its own as the abdominal wall muscles get stronger, typically by the time the child is 1 or 2 years old. Adults can also have umbilical hernias. This can occur from repeated strain on the abdomen due to things like obesity, pregnancy, or fluid in the abdomen ascites.
Learn additional details about umbilical hernias. A ventral hernia happens when tissue bulges through an opening in the muscles of your abdomen. Common factors in ventral hernia formation include things like obesity, strenuous activity, and pregnancy.
Ventral hernias can also happen at the site of a surgical incision. This is called an incisional hernia and can happen due to surgical scarring or weakness of the abdominal muscles at the surgical site. Continue reading to discover more about ventral hernias. The only way to effectively treat a hernia is through surgical repair.
However, whether or not you need surgery depends on the size of your hernia and the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may want to simply monitor your hernia for possible complications. This is called watchful waiting. In some cases, wearing a truss may help to ease the symptoms of a hernia.
This is a supportive undergarment that helps to hold the hernia in place. You should always see your doctor to make sure that a truss fits properly before using it. If you have a hiatal hernia, over-the-counter and prescription medications that reduce stomach acid can relieve your discomfort and improve symptoms.
These include antacids , H-2 receptor blockers , and proton pump inhibitors. Increasing your fiber intake may help to relieve constipation that can cause straining during bowel movements, which can aggravate a hernia. Some examples of high-fiber foods include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Dietary changes can also help with the symptoms of a hiatal hernia. To prevent acid reflux, avoid foods that may cause it, such as spicy foods and tomato-based foods. Additionally, giving up cigarettes may also help. Exercise may work to strengthen muscles around the hernia and promote weight loss, helping reduce some symptoms. A study from investigated the effects of an exercise program on obese individuals who were to undergo ventral hernia repair surgery.
It was observed that people who completed the exercise program had less complications following surgery. This may actually cause the hernia to bulge more. The same is true for exercises that are done improperly. They can work closely with you to let you know what exercises are fine to do and how to perform them properly to prevent irritating your hernia. Between 10 and 25 percent of babies are born with an umbilical hernia. This type of hernia is also more common in babies who are born prematurely or born with a low birth weight.
Umbilical hernias occur near the belly button. This causes a portion of the intestine to bulge out. Typically, umbilical hernias in children are painless. However, when symptoms such as pain, vomiting, or swelling at the hernia site occur, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Umbilical hernias typically go away when a child is 1 or 2 years old. Learn more about umbilical hernia repair.
The Differences Between Hernias in Men Versus Women
Hernias are relatively common and can afflict anyone. But how do you know if you have one? Hernias can be caused by a variety of circumstances. You might get one because of muscle weakness, straining from heavy lifting or a previous injury. When you get a hernia, an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through the wall of the cavity in which it is contained, typically in the abdomen.
Chronic pelvic pain in women due to hernias may be misdiagnosed by practicing clinicians. These fascial defects, their symptoms, physical findings, and proper treatment must be known in order to help women experiencing this form of chronic pelvic pain. All procedures were performed by the primary author using standard laparoscopic tension-free mesh techniques. The study included patients referred to a chronic pelvic pain clinic, who underwent laparoscopic surgical repairs of hernial defects.
What Is a Hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall. Many hernias occur in the abdomen between your chest and hips, but they can also appear in the upper thigh and groin areas. Sometimes they can require surgery to prevent dangerous complications. The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump in the affected area. For example, in the case of an inguinal hernia , you may notice a lump on either side of your pubic bone where your groin and thigh meet. Discomfort or pain in the area around the lump may also be present. Some types of hernia, such as hiatal hernias , can have more specific symptoms. These can include things like heartburn , trouble swallowing , and chest pain. In many cases, hernias have no symptoms.
Hernias as a Cause of Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women
Inguinal hernias occur when part of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity omentum or intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdomen — often along the inguinal canal, which carries the spermatic cord in men. An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object. An inguinal hernia isn't necessarily dangerous. It doesn't improve on its own, however, and can lead to life-threatening complications.
When Fergie sang about "lovely lady lumps," she certainly wasn't talking about hernias. But that's exactly what they are def not lovely tho —little bulges that occur when an internal organ pushes through the wall of muscle or tissue surrounding it, says Mary Ann Hopkins, M. But left untreated, certain hernias can lead to discomfort, pain, and more dangerous conditions like intestinal blockages and even gangrene. Like we said: Hernias occur when your an internal organ busts through its protective layer of tissue and muscle.
In Women, Hernias May Be Hidden Agony
.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Inguinal Hernia Symptoms and Surgical Repair, Dr. Hadley Wesson
Everything You Want to Know About a Hernia
Signs you might have a hernia