How is a hernia treated?
Treatment varies depending on the type of hernia, the severity of symptoms, the presence of coexisting diseases, and your age and medical history. Treatment of hernia includes an individualized, multifaceted plan that minimizes the discomfort of symptoms and decreases the risk of developing complications, such as a strangulated hernia or respiratory distress.
Treatment of a hiatal hernia
Treatment of a hiatal hernia can include:
Avoiding large meals by eating several small meals every day
Elevating the head of the bed during sleep to prevent acid reflux
Losing excess weight
Medications, including over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Tagamet or Pepcid
Not eating late at night or up to two hours before bedtime
Not smoking or drinking alcohol, coffee, and acidic beverages to excess
Wearing loose clothing to minimize pressure and constriction of the abdomen
For more serious cases of hiatal hernia accompanied by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), medical treatment may include:
Hospitalization and surgery to repair the hernia
H2 blockers, which reduce stomach acid
Prokinetics, which help the stomach to empty faster
Proton pump inhibitors, which decreases the production of stomach acid
Treatment of an inguinal or femoral hernia
Inguinal and femoral hernias can grow over time or stay the same size with very few symptoms. If an inguinal or femoral hernia gets larger and causes significant discomfort, or if it becomes strangulated and blood supply is cut off to the intestines, surgery may be performed to push the protruded organs back into the abdominal cavity and seal off the tissues. This surgery may be performed traditionally (called “open” hernia surgery) or laparoscopically, depending on your medical history and the location and size of the hernia.
Treatment of an umbilical hernia
Umbilical hernias in infants often disappear by themselves by age four. If an umbilical hernia gets larger and causes significant discomfort, or if it becomes strangulated and blood supply is cut off to the intestines, surgery may be performed to push the protruded organs back into the abdominal cavity and seal off the tissues. This surgery may be performed traditionally or laparoscopically.
Treatment of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are generally considered an emergency upon diagnosis and typically need to be surgically corrected soon after birth. This is because infants with this type of hernia cannot breathe well enough to sustain themselves. The surgery involves moving the organs that moved into the lung cavity back into the abdominal area. Then the diaphragm is repaired with stitches or a patch, depending on the size of the tear. The infant is typically kept on a breathing machine (ventilator) after surgery until his or her lungs recover and start to expand to provide enough oxygen on their own.
What are the possible complications of a hernia?
Hernia complications vary widely depending on the type of hernia, the severity of symptoms, the presence of coexisting diseases, and your age and medical history.
The complications of severe cases of hiatal hernia can be serious, even life threatening, and can include obstructed hiatal hernia and strangulated hiatal hernia, which can lead to infection and death of intestinal tissue (gangrene).
When an inguinal, femoral or umbilical hernia becomes incarcerated (trapped), it can lead to a strangulated hernia, in which the blood supply is cut off to the affected organ. A strangulated hernia can cause infection and death of intestinal tissue (gangrene).
The complications of congenital diaphragmatic hernia can include asphyxia (inability to breathe effectively) and lung infection.
What is a hernia?
A hernia is a condition in which an organ or other structure protrudes through a weak part of tissue or muscle. In some cases, a hernia can create a visible lump or bulge in the skin.... Read more about hernia introduction
What are the symptoms of a hernia?
Hernia symptoms vary in nature and severity depending on the type of hernia and individual factors.... Read more about hernia symptoms