Living with a Hernia

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Do you have a nagging ache in your belly or groin that you think maybe a hernia? Don’t ignore it. While it may be causing only slight discomfort now, hernias do not go away on their own. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you think you may have a hernia.   

While a hernia cannot heal itself, it can almost always be treated effectively with surgery.

The good news is that most hernias can be repaired with minimally invasive surgery – which has a low complication rate – and most patients are able to get back to their normal routine quickly. 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).

Tips to relieve hernia pain temporarily before treatment:

Depending on the severity and type of hernia you have, there are some at-home treatment measures you can take to help relieve hernia pain until you can be treated by an experienced hernia surgeon. Here are some tips we recommend:

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects and other strenuous exercises or activities. 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. Remember to 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 are overweight and dealing with a hernia, shedding a few extra pounds may help you improve your symptoms and avoid certain 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 hernia relief.
  • 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.
  • Over-the-counter medications may relieve symptoms. If advised by your doctor, over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen may be used temporarily to relieve mild pain and discomfort caused by a hernia.

It’s important to note that some hernias will require immediate surgery and should not be delayed. Your physician will be able to help determine the best treatment plan for your specific case.

You may be able to delay surgery, but the only way to effectively repair a hernia is through surgery.

Although the tips above may provide non-surgical relief from hernia symptoms, these measures are not intended to replace the need for surgery. Fortunately, hernia repair surgery is common and usually successful, but it’s important to choose a surgeon who specializes in hernia repairs to help avoid recurrence and other complications.

Selecting an experienced hernia surgeon with a high level of technical skill will significantly reduce the risk of recurrence or other complications. At the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), our hernia repair surgeons are experienced and highly skilled in open, laparoscopic, and robotic hernia repair. Our surgeons also successfully treat patients who had initial hernia repair elsewhere but need revision surgery because their hernia has returned.

Our surgeons each perform between 15 to 30 hernia surgeries a month. This means that by choosing the Hernia Center of NGMC, you will see a hernia doctor who is highly experienced and will provide the highest quality hernia repair and surgical care possible. In fact, our hernia surgeons at the Hernia Center have been recognized by Surgical Review Corporation for their quality outcomes and expertise.

Contact us today for an appointment. If you think you have a hernia, don’t delay getting treatment. Call 770-219-4040 today to speak to our care team about questions or to schedule an appointment.