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Hernia (cont.)

What Is the Treatment for Hernias?

Hernia treatment can be conservative (such as observation and support with trusses) if the hernia is not affecting your daily routine or does not cause severe pain. Curative treatment consists of surgery. Laparoscopic surgery has taken the place of traditional hernia surgery for some of the abdominal hernias.

Are There Home Remedies for Hernias?

In general, all hernias should be repaired unless severe preexisting medical conditions make surgery unsafe. The possible exception to this is a hernia with a large opening. Trusses and surgical belts or bindings may be helpful in holding back the protrusion of selected hernias when surgery is not possible or must be delayed. However, they should never be used in the case of femoral hernias.

Avoid activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure (lifting, coughing, or straining) that may cause the hernia to increase in size.

What Is the Medical Treatment for a Hernia?

Treatment of a hernia depends on whether it is reducible or irreducible and possibly strangulated.

  • Reducible hernia
    • In general, all hernias should be repaired to avoid the possibility of future intestinal strangulation.
    • If you have preexisting medical conditions that would make surgery unsafe, your doctor may not repair your hernia but will watch it closely.
    • Rarely, your doctor may advise against surgery because of the special condition of your hernia.
      • Some hernias have or develop very large openings in the abdominal wall, and closing the opening is complicated because of their large size.
      • These kinds of hernias may be treated without surgery, perhaps using abdominal binders.
      • Some doctors feel that the hernias with large openings have a very low risk of strangulation.
    • The treatment of every hernia is individualized, and a discussion of the risks and benefits of surgical versus nonsurgical management needs to take place between the doctor and patient.
  • Irreducible hernia
    • All acutely irreducible hernias need emergency hernia repair because of the risk of strangulation.
    • An attempt to reduce (push back) the hernia will generally be made, often after giving medicine for pain and muscle relaxation.
    • If unsuccessful, emergency surgery is needed.
    • If successful, however, treatment depends on the length of the time that the hernia was irreducible.
      • If the intestinal contents of the hernia had the blood supply cut off, the development of dead (gangrenous) bowel is possible in as little as six hours.
      • In cases in which the hernia has been strangulated for an extended time, a surgeon will perform surgery to check whether the intestinal tissue has died and to repair the hernia.
      • In cases in which the length of time that the hernia was irreducible was short and gangrenous bowel is not suspected, you may be discharged from the hospital.
  • If a hernia that appears irreducible is finally reduced, it is important for a patient to consider a surgical correction. These hernias have a significantly higher risk of getting incarcerated again.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/9/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hernias »

As defined in 1804 by Astley Cooper, ahernia as a protrusion of any viscus from its proper cavity.

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