Maria Palafox, MD – General Surgery
South Texas Breast Surgery
A hernia is a medical condition that occurs when internal tissue or part of one of your organs bulges through a weak muscle into a place where it doesn’t belong.
There are several kinds of hernias, but the most common is the inguinal hernia, also known as a groin hernia. It occurs when a structure in your abdomen — typically part of your small intestine — protrudes through your abdominal wall and into your inner groin.
You may have heard that heavy lifting can cause a hernia. Read on to learn whether this is true and what you can do if you think you may have a hernia.
A thin wall
Much of your intestines are supported by a thin wall of abdominal muscle that holds them in place. But pressure on this wall can cause your intestines to press against it. If the muscular wall is weak, your intestines may bulge through it, causing a hernia.
Your abdominal muscles may be weak because of a problem you were born with or because the muscles have grown weak over time.
Pressure against the abdominal wall can come from several sources. For example, lifting something heavy can cause pressure. So, yes, heavy lifting can cause a hernia to develop. For example, hernias may develop in weightlifters and construction workers who routinely lift heavy weights or objects.
Some other sources of pressure that can lead to a hernia include:
- Chronic coughing (common among smokers)
- Frequent straining to pass stool (common in people with chronic constipation)
- Frequent straining to urinate (may occur in men with an enlarged prostate)
Symptoms of a hernia
A hernia can cause a range of symptoms. These include pain while lifting, swelling or pain in the groin or scrotum, and a sense of fullness or obstruction in your bowels. You may also notice a visible bulge in your groin or scrotum or a lump that disappears when you lie down.
Although both men and women can develop hernias, inguinal hernias occur more often in men. About 25% of men and about 2% of women develop an inguinal hernia in their lifetimes.
Hernias may also develop in the upper thigh, chest, navel, and abdomen.
Repairing a hernia
If you’re experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of a hernia, Dr. Maria Palafox can help. She and her surgical team are experts at repairing hernias. Whenever possible, they use minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques that result in less scarring and quicker recovery than open surgery procedures.
Hernias don’t go away on their own. In fact, when left untreated, hernias may worsen, which could lead to serious complications that require more extensive surgery and a longer recuperation.
Don’t suffer in silence. Call Dr. Palafox’s San Antonio office today for an appointment.