Hernia is essentially a condition that occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Depending on the type, it may or may not show external signs or symptoms. Typically, they occur in abdomen, upper thigh, belly button and groin areas and they can be internal or external. The condition is caused by birth defects or family history, chronic cough, constipation, smoking and being overweight or obese. People with cystic fibrosis are also at risk, since the condition can indirectly increase the chances of hernia.

When it comes to treatment, doctors believe that there’s no other medical treatment except through surgical means since hernia does not subside on its own. Making lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet and certain exercise may reduce the discomfort and medication is also helpful in alleviating pain. However, if the hernia continues to grow larger, surgery is the only option left where the repair of defect is carried out with help of Mesh. Mesh is an artificial layer of inert material which strengthens the wall of body and prevents organ to cross from its natural position. In that context, the patient has two options: open surgery, or laparoscopic surgery. Open surgery entails a large incision or cut to remove the hernia and can be done under local, general and spinal anesthesia. In laparoscope surgery, small incision is made and the laparoscope is inserted along with instruments used to repair the hernia. A mesh is placed over the defect to cover it and to strengthen the tissues.

“With advent of ‘key hole’ or laparoscopic procedure, hernias can be operated as a day care surgery,” explained Dr Manish Madnani, Gastrointestinal Surgeon at Bahrain Specialist Hospital, “This can help with the faster recovery and decreasing the cost without increasing any risk to the patient. Various kinds of laparoscopic techniques are used for different kinds of hernias and all techniques use the Mesh most of the times, except in cases of internal or hiatal hernia, where mesh may or may not be used. The surgery is very safe and overall risk of its failure is less than 1 percent. Problems which can happen during or after surgery are again very rare and can be handled well by the expert surgeons. The procedure further reduces the length of hospital stay and operative time and shows a significant reduction in formation of wound infection post operation as compared to the open surgery.”

Symptoms of hernia can be profuse pain, pressure in the concerned body part or a lump/bulge. Internal hernias are generally not apparent and present only when complication arise out of that or picked up incidentally during investigation for some other problem. Not all types of hernia are life-threatening; however, it is important to consult a doctor because if hernia is left untreated, it can lead to a dangerous condition called strangulation, which cuts off the blood supply from the body part.

There are overseven areas in our body where Hernia occurs; Inguinal Hernia (which is more common in men and is caused when the intestines push through the lower abdominal wall often into the inguinal canal), Umbilical Hernia (whichare harmless and can occur in infants and adults, at and around the navel/belly button), Femoral Hernia (An uncommon type of Hernia found mostly in women that can occur when there is a painful lump formation in the internal part of upper thigh or groin), Lumbar Hernia (Diagnosis and treatment of this rare type of Hernia can be a challenge as its occurrence in the abdominal wall isn’t easily noticeable), Ventral Hernia (occursat the site of past incisions at the abdominal wall), and Hiatal Hernia (occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm onto the chest region present in 60% of those who are 60 years and above according to the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association)

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