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Sometimes a hernia is present at birth.
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Anyone can develop a hernia at any age - from the new-born to the very old. However, the following factors seem to increase the risk of abdominal hernia: Being male - 12 times more males than females develop groin hernias Obesity Previous abdominal surgery such as an appendoctomy or other abdominal injury A chronic cough, such as a smoker's cough Straining during bowel movements because of constipation or while urinating Straining to lift heavy objects Persistent sneezing, such as that caused by allergies There are 70, hernia repair operations each year in the UK.
It's a very common problem. A hernia results from the protrusion of a part of the contents of the abdominal cavity chiefly the intestines through a weak point in the abdominal wall. The job of the abdominal wall a sheet of muscle and tendon stretching from the ribs to the thighs is to act as a kind of 'corset' supporting the tissue and organs within the abdomen and pelvis.
The abdominal wall has some natural weak spots - where the blood vessels serving the scrotum and leg pierce it and also in the umbilicus navel region.
It can also be weakened by surgery, injury or any action that overstretches it or exerts undue pressure, like coughing or sneezing. The pain and discomfort of an abdominal hernia come from the pressure of the abdominal contents upon the weak spot of the wall.
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Any movement causes additional pressure; that's why some hernia lumps are visible when you stand - because of the pressure exerted by gravity - and become invisible when you lie down.
Such hernias are said to be 'reducible' and it is often possible to push them back inside the abdominal wall. Hernias that cause a constant bulge, whatever your position, are called non-reducible and these are the ones that are most prone to producing complications such as stangulation and obstruction and need prompt medical attention. Over time, the abdominal contents will start to protrude even more, weakening the wall still further. In other words, hernia tends to be a progressive condition that worsens over time.
Hernias do not get better on their own. Doctors classify a hernia according to its position within the abdomen, as follows: When a male's testicles descend into the scrotum, this causes a naturally weakened area of the abdominal wall, known as the internal ring.
There are two kinds of inguinal hernia: In an 'indirect inguinal hernia' a portion of the intestine drops down into the internal ring and may extend down into the scrotum.
An indirect inguinal hernia tends to occur as a result of an inherited weakness in the internal ring, or a weakness acquired in later life from, say, a groin injury. Less common is the 'direct inguinal hernia', which occurs near the internal ring, rather than within it. This usually occurs after age 40, as a result of ageing or injury. This type of hernia results from a weakness in the muscles of the upper-middle section of the abdominal wall, above the navel.
Men are three times more likely to have epigastric hernia than women. The tissue around the navel is thinner than that in the rest of the abdominal wall, making this area prone to development of a hernia.
Umbilical hernia can occur in babies, children and adults see hernias in children. The area between the abdomen and thigh around the femoral artery is another site where a hernia may develop, although this one is far more common among women. A femoral hernia causes a bulge on the upper thigh. Incisional and stoma hernias. A surgical incision creates an area of weakness in the abdominal wall, where a hernia may develop. Incisional hernia sometimes occurs after, for instance, removal of the appendix.
It is more likely to happen when the operation wound has become infected - a fairly common occurrence, in fact. Similarly, creation of a stoma an artificial opening for the bowel, often done in treatment of colon cancer or other intestinal disease strains the tissue in the surrounding area.
Hernias following trauma or injury to the abdomen e. Multiple hernias, occurring at more than one site on the abdominal wall, may sometimes develop. How can I prevent it? There is no sure way of preventing a hernia from developing, particularly if it results from an inherited weakness in the abdominal wall. However, avoiding certain risk factors may be helpful. For instance, if you have a smoker's cough, stop smoking; if you are prone to violent sneezing attacks because of hayfever, try to get some effective treatment from your doctor or chemist.
- Inguinal Hernias: Diagnosis and Management
Similarly, chronic constipation that causes you to strain on the toilet should be treated with a high-fibre diet or medical intervention. Should I see a doctor?
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If you suspect you have a hernia, you should always seek medical advice. A doctor should be able to tell whether you have a hernia or a some other problem by physical examination. Most cases should be treated by surgical repair as soon as possible after diagnosis - this removes the discomfort and pain associated with the condition, which could seriously affect your quality of life and, more importantly, prevents the development of a strangulated hernia, which is potentially life-threatening.
What are the main treatments? The only way of curing a hernia is by surgical repair. There are no drug treatments for the condition. The prospect of having an operation may seem daunting, especially if you have a reducible hernia which is not really causing much discomfort. However, remember that hernias do tend to get worse over time, and there is always a risk - however small - of developing the serious complication of a strangulated hernia.
Hernia surgery is better carried out sooner, rather than later. However, it is important you discuss the different surgical options in detail with your doctor before coming to any decisions.3 Powerful Questions To Ask A Guy You're Dating
Ask questions such as: What are the risks to me, in my current state of health, of having this operation? Will I need a local or a general anaesthetic? What does the operation actually involve? Ask the doctor to show you with a diagram if you are not sure What is the success rate of this operation? Are there any potential complications I should know about? How long will I have to stay in hospital?
How long will I be off work? What kind of follow-up will be involved? The authors thank Christine L. Manalla for her assistance in the writing and preparation of the manuscript. Reprints are not available from the authors. No relevant financial affiliations. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: Digestive diseases statistics for the United States. Accessed November 16, Evidence-based management of groin hernia in primary care—a systematic review.
Risk factors for inguinal hernia among adults in the US population.
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