If I leave it alone, will my hernia heal on its own?

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

That’s one of the most common questions doctors hear when it comes to hernias. Unfortunately, the answer is no. While a hernia cannot heal itself, it can almost always be treated effectively with surgery. If left untreated, however, a hernia can cause serious complications, such as a bowel obstruction (resulting in  severe pain, nausea or constipation), or intestinal strangulation, if the trapped section of the intestines does not get enough blood. That’s why it’s important to  seek medical attention right away if you think you may have a hernia.

Some hernias require immediate surgery, but depending on the type of hernia you have and its severity, there are some home treatment options and measures you can take to relieve hernia pain temporarily until you can be treated by an experienced hernia surgeon. Here are some tips we recommend:

Avoid lifting heavy objects, and strenuous exercise or activity.

These activities may result in increased pressure and strain that could worsen your hernia. Stick to light and low-impact exercises like walking or swimming. And listen to your body; if an exercise or activity is causing discomfort, avoid it until you can seek treatment.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Extra weight can exacerbate hernia pain. If you have a hernia and you’re overweight, shedding a few extra pounds may improve hernia symptoms and can help you avoid complications such as strangulation.

Modify your diet.

Diet can play a big role in controlling hernia symptoms. This is especially true for those with hiatal hernias, where part of the stomach bulges upward through an opening in the diaphragm. Avoiding foods high in acidity as well as others associated with heartburn and indigestion can also help. Additionally, eating smaller meals and avoiding foods that may cause constipation can also provide relief for other types of hernias.

Use natural remedies to relieve hernia symptoms.

Although there is no natural cure for hernias, you can talk to your doctor about natural remedies — such as aloe vera, castor seed oil, and vegetable juice –which are sometimes used to relieve hernia symptoms because of their anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

Use an ice pack.

If you have a hernia in the abdomen or groin, applying an ice pack to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Although the tips above may provide non-surgical relief from hernia symptoms, these measures are not intended to replace the need for surgery. You may be able to delay surgery, but the only way to effectively repair a hernia is to have surgery. The good news, however, is that in most cases hernia surgery is minimally invasive and offers a short recovery time. Surgery will enable you to get back to the activities you enjoy, pain free.


Choose the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center for Your Hernia Repair.

The Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is recognized by Surgical Review Corporation as a Center of Excellence for its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for patients who undergo hernia surgery. 

As a designated Center of Excellence for Hernia Surgery, NGMC’s surgical outcomes are higher than the national average, while our complication rates remain much lower. Our experienced surgeons have performed more than 5,900 minimally invasive hernia repairs and more than 1,500 robotic hernia repairs using the da Vinci surgical system. 

At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our surgeons have demonstrated low complication rates, with less than once percent returning to the operating room, less than one percent being readmitted to the hospital, and less than one percent developing a recurring hernia. 

Get Started Today

Learn more about the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center or call 770-282-8956 to speak to our care team about questions or to schedule an appointment.