How Serious is a Hernia?

Although being diagnosed with a hernia can be worrying, the good news is that in most cases they aren’t serious. Seeking treatment will ensure that the hernia is repaired before it has a chance to cause any problems.

According to the British Hernia Centre, over 100,000 hernia procedures are carried out each year in the UK. The question is, do all hernias require surgery and what are the signs it might be serious?

Do all hernias require surgery?

Even though most hernias aren’t serious, surgery will be required at some point to repair them in most cases. This is because they never just go away by themselves. Even small hernias that aren’t necessarily causing any issues right now, can grow much bigger over time. For this reason, it is recommended that they are surgically repaired sooner rather than later.

How quickly you need the surgery will depend upon the size and type of hernia you have. Inguinal hernias are the most common type, and they  develop within the groin. They are more common in men and are typically easy to treat. Other types of hernias include umbilical hernias and ventral hernias.

Hernia repair surgery is a common and straightforward procedure, but it does need to be carried out by an experienced surgeon. The only time surgery may not be recommended is if it would pose significant risks and complications for the patient.

How can I tell if my hernia is serious?

There are a few signs you can watch out for to determine if your hernia is serious including:

  • The lump becomes very painful or painful to touch
  • The lump has changed colour
  • Vomiting and abdominal pain and distension
  • Fever

While hernias can cause an aching sensation, if the pain comes on suddenly or it is worsening over time or the lump becomes very tender to touch, it could be a sign of strangulation. A strangulated hernia is a serious complication where the organ pushing through the weakened wall isn’t receiving any blood. You may also experience a temperature. The hernia may also change colour in this situation and become quite red or purple. Without immediate treatment, a strangulated hernia can be life threatening and you must seek emergency help.

If you experience abdominal pain with distension and vomiting this can be a due to bowel being obstructed within the hernia. Whilst not as serious as a full-blown strangulation this, like strangulation, constitutes a surgical emergency and you must seek emergency help.

If the hernia does not disappear when you lie flat or if you are unable to push it back in then this is a sign of incarceration. Whilst this is not on its own a surgical emergency you will need  to seek urgent advice from a hernia specialist.

If you notice any of these symptoms with your hernia or you suspect you have a hernia, it is important to seek treatment right away. Book a consultation with Mr Michael Stellakis now to determine the best course of treatment to suit you.