Hernia is generally an effect of intense physical exertion and the chances of ailing from hernia largely depend on genetics. It is a condition where a specific organ pushes through a muscle wall and protrudes. Inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia. It is treated via surgical procedures when the intestines push through a weak spot in the lower abdomen or groin area, often in the inguinal canal. It may be seen in both men and women.
Post-operative hernia care is very important to avoid any complications. People treated through surgical procedures for inguinal hernia need to give sufficient time to themselves for rest, followed by weeks of relaxation to avoid straining in any way such as lifting heavy weights or swimming. During the recovery phase, it is important to follow the post-surgery advice such as avoiding smoking, running up the stairs or any strenuous exercise. After the surgery, it is advised to drink a lot of water and go for a walk regularly.
The bulge may be small or do not show symptoms sometimes so people don’t seek treatment for this type of hernia. Immediate medical treatment can help prevent further bulging and discomfort.
Immediately after the surgery when you wake up after the surgery, any discomfort due to general anesthesia will be managed by your hospital and healthcare provider. You may experience immediate postoperative nausea, pain and dizziness. This fades away quickly. After the surgery, you are discharged once you are able to drink liquids without significant nausea and vomiting and walk without any dizziness. Usually, a patient does not stay more than 5-6 hours (some quicker, some slower).
As surgery is the primary treatment for inguinal hernia, there are two approaches either open inguinal surgery or laparoscopic inguinal surgery.
In open inguinal surgery, a large incision is made over the abdomen near the groin whereas, in laparoscopic surgery, there are multiple small incisions. In laparoscopic surgery, a thin long tube-like instrument with a camera on the top is inserted through the incision inside the body to perform the surgery.
The aim of both the surgical approach is to return the abdominal tissue back into the abdominal cavity and repairing the abdominal wall defect. Mesh is placed inside to reinforce the abdominal wall. After the surgery is done, the surgeon closes the incisions with staples, sutures or adhesive glue.
Surgical repair is recommended for inguinal hernias that are causing pain and discomfort and those which are incarcerated or strangulated. Laparoscopic surgery has the following advantages over open hernia repair:
- It is a less invasive procedure, it causes less pain.
- The hospital stay and the recovery time are short.
- Repair of recurrent hernia is easier using a laparoscopic approach.
- Both the hernias can be repaired at the same time while open surgery needs another cut to treat hernia on the opposite side.
- As there are small incisions, it is more preferred for cosmetic reasons.
Post surgery instructions
- There are some wound instructions which you need to take care of when you are discharged from the hospital. Keep the incision site clean and change the bandages as instructed by the surgeon to prevent infection.
- A diet high in fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables are important. Drink a lot of liquid. All this will help avoid constipation which is due to medication and inactivity. Talk to your doctor if constipation lasts more than 2-3 days. He may prescribe you stool softener if needed.
- Depending on the type of repair, you may be able to shower, but no bathing or swimming until your doctor confirms.
- Do go for a regular walk and gradually switch to long walks as it increases the circulation and you heal faster. Remember do not strain the abdomen. Heavy exercises at the gym, or lifting more weights can resume without restriction after a few weeks or when you are completely pain-free, after the surgery.
- The effect of anesthesia may stay with you for upto a week, depending on the type of surgery you choose. You should not drive when you are taking pain killers. Driving may strain the incisions, so check with your doctor.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights after the surgery atleast for a few days. As you slowly start lifting weights, do not use your abdomen, instead use your knees and back.
- Some people may resume their work the next day depending on the recovery while some may get tired easily. If your work involves physical activity and exertion, you may need some rest to get back to your work.
- You must talk to your doctor when to resume the sexual activity. Your physical comfort gives you a sign if you are fit for it.
Follow up with your doctor for a few weeks after the surgery. Although genetic risk factors cannot be prevented, you can always reduce the risk of occurrence and severity. This is how you can do it:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a high fiber diet
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid heavy lifting
Early surgical treatment can help you cure inguinal hernia. Call your doctor if you notice any side-effect or pain or discomfort after the treatment.
Also Read: Exercises for Inguinal Hernia