What is the Treatment for a Hernia?

A hernia is a weakness in the abdominal muscle at the area of the pelvic inguinal region. That is the area just above the crease where your hip meets your pelvis. There are many reasons why a weakness occurs there: congenital, injury, previous surgery or straining frequently.

No matter what the reason, a person with any type of hernia usually presents with a bulge. This is the result of something protruding through the weak spot in the muscle. It might be omentum (fatty “lacy apron” covering organs of the abdomen), fat or even bowel (intestines) that protrudes.

After the bulge, there may even be pain. That is often what brings someone to the doctor. If that pain is accompanied by swelling, fever and problems with bowel movements, then it is often that the bowel is herniated through the muscle.

After diagnostic tests, your doctor can confirm if you have a hernia or not. Then you will discuss possible treatment options.

There may not be anything that needs to be done. If the hernia is not giving you pain and is not causing any problems with digestion, defecation, urination or anything else, the doctor may decide to observe it for a while.

Your doctor may also try to manipulate the hernia non-invasively. If he can reduce it (push the protruding contents back into the abdomen) by pressing on it, then he may do that. The fat or whatever was protruding will move back into its original position and the bulge will disappear. You will still have the weakness and it will have to be watched to be sure it doesn’t return.

In either case you may be advised to avoid straining when using the bathroom or during lifting. Lifting may even be against doctor's orders to prevent the hernia from returning.

Truth be told, for hernias such as inguinal hernias and umbilical in adults, surgery is inevitable. If you can avoid it using the two options above, you might be able to put it off longer, but since the weakness still exists, surgery will come into play at some point.

One incidence of hernia that almost always requires surgical intervention is a hernia where the bowel becomes strangulated. This can lead to dead bowel which can cause peritonitis and requires a bowel resection to remove the decayed portion in addition to the hernia. You will most likely encounter pain and fever when the bowel is involved.

Surgical intervention will release the trapped bowel and repair the weakness. The doctor may stitch up the defect or reinforce it with a material called mesh to avoid future defects.

There are a few treatment options for hernias, but surgery is usually the final outcome.