LANSING, Mich. — Each year, hernias affect millions of Americans, according to the National Center of Health Statistics, yet experts believe hundreds of thousands suffer in silence, primarily because they fear surgery.
Hernias are caused when there is a weakness or hole in the abdominal wall. Discomfort and pain associated with hernias may prevent people from engaging in activities they love to do, while ignoring symptoms may lead to complications that can be life-threatening.
“The most common types of abdominal-related hernias we see are in the umbilical and groin areas, or from a previous incision,” said McLaren Greater Lansing general surgeon Dr. Nicholas St.Hilaire, DO. “Symptoms you may experience include feeling and/or seeing a bulge, often paired with pain or discomfort, and you will need to push back in from time to time.”
Hernias are very common in physically demanding jobs, but there are also a number of factors how hernias can occur, such as family history, obesity, pregnancy, straining caused from physical exercise, coughing, and smoking, among others. Over time, a hernia can get larger and, in some cases, could progress to the point of needing immediate attention.
“Play close attention if pain worsens and the bulge can no longer be pushed back in,” says Dr. St.Hilaire. “Those are emergency signs we look for and need immediate medical attention in case there is an intestine that gets stuck and requires surgery.”
Although treatment options usually involve surgery, minimally invasive approaches such as laparoscopic or robotic options can be used in some cases which can result in reduced recovery times and minimal scarring; benefits of robotic surgery results vary.
“Most importantly, contact your primary care physician and discuss what symptoms you are experiencing and when they started,” said Dr. St.Hilaire. “Most often, hernias can be diagnosed with a physical exam.”
As a part of our healthwise series, McLaren Greater Lansing will be hosting a free hernia screening with Dr. St.Hilaire on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Appointments are limited and a reservation is required. For more information and to register, click here.
Click here to contact Dr. St.Hilaire at McLaren Greater Lansing Minimally Invasive Surgical Associates if you have additional questions or would like to schedule an appointment.
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