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Can I prevent myself from getting a hernia?

Is it possible to prevent a hernia from developing?

Don't do anything fun!

When a hole or defect develops in the lining of the body, tissues and/or organs can squeeze out through the hole and form a bulge or swelling on the outside. There are many types of hernias, but the most common While there are many different types of hernias, the most common ones occur in the abdominal (belly) or inguinal (groin) areas.

Hernias are quite prevalent, and although there is no precise data, there are 500,000 - 750,000 hernia repairs performed in the US every year. It is estimated that there is a global incidence of 18.9 million hernias per year.

As noted in other sections, hernias are typically caused by a combination of muscle weakness of the abdominal wall and strain. The most common types occur through a natural hole, where some anatomic structure normally travels or once did travel at some point in normal fetal development. In some people, hernias develop over a long period (even since the time of birth in some cases) where in others, they develop very quickly, often stemming from some type of strenuous activity. Most people do not initially experience pain or any other symptoms when they first notice the hernia, while others experience pain, sometimes severe pain.  ​

So how can I prevent a hernia?

Well, the short answer is that in most cases you cannot, unless you significantly limit your activities.

Having said that, there are physical conditions that significantly increase your risk for development of hernias, and to the extent they are in your control, you can avoid these conditions or correct these conditions to help decrease your risk.

Common physical conditions and changes that can be made to help decrease your risk for the development of a hernia:

  • Chronic coughing from smoking or asthma

    • QUIT SMOKING​

    • Get better control over your asthma

  • Smoking, which causes weak tissues and poor healing

    • QUIT SMOKING​

  • ​Chronic sneezing from allergies

    • Get better control of your allergies with medications or remove allergens​

  • Obesity (causes increased intra-abdominal pressure, diabetes, poor healing)

    • Lose weight​

    • Eat a healthy diet

  • Diabetes (causes poor wound healing and weak tissues)

    • Lose weight​

    • get better glucose control with medication and diet

  • Steroid use 

    • avoid if possible​, or as much as possible

  • Older age

    • Stay young!! (Otherwise, act your age and avoid heavy lifting and too strenuous physical activity).​

  • Frequent constipation

    • Eat a high fiber diet to avoid constipation​

    • Use stool softeners often to avoid constipation, or always if prone to constipation

    • Take laxatives if you are already constipated.

    • DO NOT STRAIN TO HAVE A BM!

  • Malnutrition (causes weak tissues and poor healing)

    • Eat a healthy, nutritious diet​

  • Pregnancy

    • take steps to avoid unwanted pregnancies 

  • Occupation with heavy physical labor (warehouse work, moving company, etc.)

    • take precautions to avoid injury, follow safety guidelines​

    • get help when lifting heavy objects

  • Sports, especially professional sports

    • Take precautions to avoid injury​

    • Do not play physically intense or contact sports if you are not in shape.

  • Abdominal Surgery

    • If you have abdominal surgery, please follow all of the activity guidelines and restrictions that you are given by your surgeon.​

    • Most hernias that occur at abdominal incision sites happen within the first few weeks after surgery. It is critical to follow instructions and avoid all heavy lifting and strenuous activity for whatever length of time your surgeon instructs (typically in the range of 4-8 weeks, depending on the type of surgery).

    • Avoid constipation associated with narcotic pain medication. 

      • Drink between 0.5 - 1 oz of fluid for every pound of body weight. Alternatively, about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men, and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.​

      • Use stool softeners regularly while taking pain medication

      • Use laxatives as needed in the post operative period

    • Avoid pregnancy until 6-12 months after surgery.

 

If you have concerns about a hernia: 

Come and see us at Advanced Hernia Specialists, spend time exploring our website, or just give us a call to learn more. We have the most experience and are considered experts in the field of hernia surgery. We are committed to delivering excellent care and the best patient outcomes possible. 

If you think you have a hernia, please schedule an appointment with us by calling 904-808-5658, emailing us​, using our online Contact Form, or Book Online

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