Can a hernia be prevented?


Can a hernia be prevented?

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or fatty tissue through the overlying muscular or connective layer.  It is common for a hernia to develop on the abdominal wall region. Between the sexes, men are more likely to get them than women.

There are people who are more prone to developing them than others – anyone who is overweight to obese, struggles with chronic constipation, has chronic spells of coughing or lifts heavy weights regularly. Is it possible to prevent a hernia?  The answer is “yes.”  Here are steps you can take to reduce your chance of developing one:

·      Maintain a healthy body weight

The more weight you gain, the more abdominal fat is accumulated causing more pressure that fat places on the abdominal wall.  The tendency to develop a hernia is increased due to this increase in abdominal pressure. Your goal should be to reach and maintain a healthy body weight for you.  Know your body mass index (BMI) and take steps to reduce excess weight.  

·      Engage in exercise

One of the best ways to prevent hernia’s from forming is to be physically active.  Participating in sports or physical activity does not increase abdominal pressure as it helps maintain weight and muscle strength.  What is emphasized particularly in regards to hernias is to have strong core muscles. Excellent ways to active core muscles are doing yoga or Pilates. However, certain exercises could make a hernia prone to tearing and would not be recommended.  This includes all Cross-Fit type exercises that tend to include a lot of jumping and squats.

·      Prevent Constipation

Straining during a bowel movement can cause a lot of abdominal pressure. This can push onto hernia-prone areas and increase your risk of hernia development. Many physicians believe the number one cause of hernias is from straining too hard while having a bowel movement. Remedies include eating a high fiber diet which means eating more bean, vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.  Also consume at least 8 cups of water a day and engage in regular physically activity such as brisk walking 3 or more days a week for at least 30-60 minutes.

·      Get a cough under control

Coughing aggressively can be a trigger for hernias.  The reason is coughing causes even more abdominal pressure than straining due to constipation. If you have a bad cough due to an allergy or cold, get it treated as soon as possible. If the cough is due to smoking, take steps necessary to quit.

·      Men need to treat enlarged prostate

Just as straining while having a bowel movement can lead to hernias, so can straining for urination due to an enlarged prostate. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate that can promote hernia formation include waking up 2 or more times per night to urinate; straining to make a slow urine stream go faster; and straining to try to empty that last bit of urine in the bladder. Any man with these symptoms should see a urologist to be tested for an enlarged prostate.