Hernia repair surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. In fact, there are approximately one million hernia repair surgeries each year. How can you prevent them?
What is a Hernia?
A hernia occurs when the internal organs or fat tissue of the body squeeze through a weak spot or hole in the muscular wall. These typically occur in the abdomen, but they can also be found around the hips and pelvic floor.
The most common hernias include:
- Inguinal hernias are found in the inner groin area.
- Hiatal hernias occur in the upper stomach near the diaphragm.
- Femoral hernias develop in the upper thigh and outer groin area.
- Incisional hernias are found in areas that have been operated on and develop from a surgical incision.
- Ventral hernias occur in the mid to lower abdomen.
- Umbilical hernias are found near the belly button.
Sometimes, people are genetically predisposed to hernia development and it’s somewhat out of their control as to whether or not they are affected. But, in most cases, hernias may be preventable with the right lifestyle changes.
Smoking can decrease blood supply to muscles which can weaken them and make them more prone to rips and tears. Smoking can also lead to more frequent and powerful coughing fits, which may increase the risk of developing a hernia.
Avoid Becoming Overweight
When a person carries extra weight on their body, their muscles have to work harder to move. Because of this extra resistance, muscle rips and tears become more likely. Patients who are overweight should begin dieting and exercising regularly to shed pounds and strengthen their muscles.
Do Not Lose Weight Too Rapidly
In most cases, unless a patient is obese, it is healthy to lose a pound or two each week when dieting or exercising. Typically with rapid weight loss, the patient isn’t eating the correct amounts and types of food, leading to a protein and vitamin deficiency that can cause weakness in the abdominal muscles.
Strengthen The Right Areas of the Body
Building strong, healthy muscle is integral to maintaining your musculoskeletal health and avoiding issues such as hernias. Begin exercising to improve the muscle tone in your core and hips:
- How to strengthen your core (abdomen & obliques): Exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and planks are fantastic ways to strengthen body’s core.
- How to strengthen our hips: Having strong hips helps to support the abdominal wall and relieves pressure in that area. Body weight lunges, side lunges, and squats will help to build muscle around the hips.