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Published on February 01, 2017

Healing Hernias

Educate yourself on this common condition before it becomes a problem for you.

Man lifting heavy weightsAccording to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately five million Americans live with a hernia. Many don’t know what causes the tender or painful lump in their abdomen or groin, and thus don’t know how to heal this condition or prevent reappearances.

“A hernia is a defect caused by pressure on a weak spot in your abdominal wall,” says Chief of Surgery at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Stephen R. Goldman, MD, FACS. “Common causes include being obese or overweight, having previous surgeries, and doing a lot of heavy lifting.”

The most common locations for hernias to occur are at incisions, the upper
stomach, the belly button, and the groin area.

Where do I go from here?

You have a lump in your abdomen that’s tender, and you suspect it might be a hernia. What’s next?

“If you have a question, see a surgeon. While primary care doctors are excellent at their jobs, a hernia is a surgical problem,” Dr. Goldman says. “Having the input of a surgeon you and your primary care doctor trust will give you better information and allow you to make a more informed decision.”

Low-Risk Resolution

According to Dr. Goldman, the only definitive treatment for a hernia is surgical repair.

“For most people, this surgery is very safe,” says Dr. Goldman. “Because the procedure is so low-risk, fixing a hernia is well worth it to prevent more catastrophic complications down the road.”

After the procedure, many people are out of bed within an hour or so, and most go home later that same day. Moderate to intense activity should be avoided for a few weeks following surgery. Also try to avoid forceful coughing or other movements that increase pressure in the belly and groin.

Are you concerned you may have a hernia? To contact Northwestern Medicine KishHealth Physician Group Surgeons, call 815.758.8671.

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