Hernia FAQs (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
When should someone seek medical care for a hernia?
If a person discovers a hernia or has symptoms that suggest he or she might have a hernia, the person should consult a doctor. Hernias, even those that ache, if they are not tender and easy to reduce (push back into the abdomen), are not surgical emergencies, but all hernias have the potential to become serious. Referral to a surgeon should generally be made so that a person can have surgery by choice (called elective surgery) and avoid the risk of emergency surgery should the hernia become irreducible or strangulated.
If you already have a hernia and it suddenly becomes painful, tender, and irreducible (cannot be pushed it back inside), you should go to the emergency department. Strangulation (cut off blood supply) of intestine within the hernia sac can lead to gangrenous (dead) bowel in as little as six hours.
Questions to Ask the Doctor
What type of hernia do I have?
What is the plan to take care of it?
Can I just wait and see if my hernia gets worse?
What should I do if suddenly my hernia feels painful and swollen or gets larger?
What type of surgical repair (laparoscopic repair or open repair) can I have?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015
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