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Can Lifestyle Changes Help a Hernia?

Can Lifestyle Changes Help a Hernia?

Hernias affect about 10% of adults at some point in their life. The most common locations for hernias are in the abdomen or groin, where an organ easily pushes through a weak spot in the nearby muscle or tissue. Men are far more likely than women to develop a hernia. 

Hernias can cause swelling or a bulge at its location that’s painful to the touch. Your hernia often becomes more painful when you lift or exert yourself. An untreated hernia usually grows larger and can cause serious complications like bowel obstruction or strangulation, meaning your intestine isn’t getting adequate blood supply. These complications require immediate medical attention.

Hernias rarely go away on their own and usually require hernia repair surgery by a board-certified surgeon like those on the team at  Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, located in Jackson, Mississippi.

If you have a hernia, you can take action at home to keep it from getting worse or causing complications while you await surgery. These lifestyle changes can also help you avoid a hernia recurrence.

Quit smoking

If you smoke, quit. This step provides several health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Not smoking also greatly reduces your risk of developing a hernia or making an existing hernia worse. The “smoker’s cough” can strain the abdomen, prompting an organ to push through weak tissue.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Eat a healthy diet and take part in regular physical activity to achieve or maintain optimal body weight for your height and age. Being overweight puts extra strain on muscles and tissue, making you more vulnerable to developing a hernia. 

If you’re severely overweight with a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or above, we may request you lose weight before hernia surgery because it puts you at greater risk of anesthesia complications and makes healing more challenging. 

Avoid constipation

The straining of trying to pass hard stools can cause a hernia or put you at risk of complications if you already have one. Follow a diet that includes lots of fibrous fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to keep waste moving through your digestive tract. Drink plenty of water and use the restroom when you need to go — don’t hold the stool in. If you have problems with chronic constipation, talk to us. We may have treatments to help. 

Be mindful when lifting heavy objects

Being careless when moving furniture or boxes or disregarding proper weightlifting form while at the gym puts you at a greater risk of a hernia. Don’t lift objects or weights that are beyond your current ability. 

These lifestyle changes aren’t just good for hernia prevention. They can also help you heal from surgery

The providers at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC are available for all your surgical needs, including hernia repair. Call the office or book using the online tool for a consultation to learn more about how we can help you heal your hernia and get back to your normal activities.

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