In simple terms, Abdominal Hernias are protrusions of either intestine or fatty mass outside the abdominal wall breaching the thin muscle that holds them. If you have been diagnosed with any one of the six common Abdominal Hernias, namely, Inguinal, Femoral, Umbilical, Epigastric, Hiatal and Incisional Hernias, you need to keep in mind the following precautions.
- Never lift heavy weights – Lifting of weights increases the pressure you apply to the abdominal area and this only makes the already weakened muscle to further weaken and increase the Hernia. So more protrusion is dangerous. By saying lifting of weight, we not only mean weight lifting at your gym, we also mean such common weight lifting daily chores like lifting a bucket filled with water or clothes, lifting children, lifting LPG cylinders, manual labor that involves lifting of any type of weights, etc.
A general tip to lifting weight is to not bend forward while picking a an object which may be heavy or light. Rather going down gently, and bearing the weight on the legs while you lift them is the recommended way.
- Avoid Bending – Avoid bending, squatting, and generally sitting on the floor should you have Hernia. Generally it is best to avoid Indian toilets, as they involve squatting.
- Watch out for Constipation – Try and avoid foods that are sure to give constipation. Prefer food rich in fiber. Setting up a squatting position in your western toilet will go a long way in checking your constipation. Generally if you are constipated, it is recommended to take warm water or medications like laxatives to ease the bowel movements.
- Watch out for Phimosis or Prostrate – If you have a condition called Phimosis where you struggle to urinate, you need to watch out. If you are old and have prostrate condition, you may have to be extra careful if you have Hernia. Generally it is recommended that you treat your Prostrate condition before treating Hernia.
- Watch Out for Asthma, Wheezing or Sneezing – If you are asthmatic you need to watch out for your wheezing. If you are also allergic to dust, you need to be extra cautious as sneezing too can exert pressure on your abdominal walls which can aggravate your Hernia.
- Watch your weight – More one becomes obese, more is the pressure to the abdominal wall. Hence moderately exercise to keep your weight under control. Since weight lifting has to be avoided, you can indulge in such exercises like swimming and some form of aerobic exercises. The excess fat in the abdominal cavity acts like a screw driver on the hernia wall and only weakens it more. It has to be borne in mind that this fat also hinders suturing and laying the mesh during a hernia surgery.
- Avoid Smoking & Alcohol – Smoking has the potential to trigger chronic cough which can put maximum pressure to the abdominal region. Hence it is always better to avoid smoking altogether. Same goes to alcohol. It may make you more vulnerable and the vulnerability can increase the Hernia.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.