Hernias and constipation are two common health issues that can sometimes occur at the same time. While there’s a lot of information out there about the two conditions, it can be challenging to determine what’s accurate and whether there’s a link between them.

In today’s blog, we’ll explore whether hernias can cause constipation, the risks involved, and when you should seek medical advice.

Can hernias cause constipation?

Hernias, particularly those in the abdominal area, can sometimes lead to constipation. This happens when a part of the intestine or abdominal fat protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, creating a bulge. When this bulge or the hernia itself obstructs the bowel, it can disrupt normal bowel movements, leading to constipation.

With inguinal hernias, the intestine can protrude into the groin area. The physical blockage caused by the hernia can make it difficult for waste to pass through the intestine, leading to discomfort and irregular bowel movements.

In some cases, the hernia may not directly cause constipation, but the discomfort and pain associated with it can lead to a reluctance to strain during bowel movements. This can result in a cycle of constipation, where you avoid going to the bathroom due to the pain, worsening the constipation over time.

The dangers of having constipation with a hernia

Having constipation while also having a hernia can be a sign of an intestinal obstruction and should be taken seriously as it can become life-threatening.

It’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms and seek immediate medical attention when needed. The symptoms to watch out for include a painful bulge that doesn’t go away when lying down, worsening pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, increased heart rate, and fever.

These symptoms could indicate a strangulated hernia, where the trapped part of the bowel has its blood supply cut off. This can lead to tissue death and severe complications if not treated quickly.

There could be other causes of constipation, including medications, certain medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, as well as anxiety or stress and not drinking enough water. If lifestyle changes or laxatives do not improve symptoms, a colonoscopy may be needed to check for any abdominal obstructions.

How to treat a hernia

The treatment for a hernia usually involves surgery to repair the weakened area of the abdominal wall. The procedure can be done through open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, depending on the hernia’s size and location, as well as the patient’s overall health.

During the surgery, the protruding tissue is pushed back into place, and the abdominal wall is strengthened, often with surgical mesh, to prevent recurrence.

If you suspect you have a hernia, or if you’re experiencing discomfort or complications from an existing hernia, it’s important to seek medical advice. Consulting with a leading specialist, like Mr Michael Stellakis, can help you get the treatment you need for addressing both the hernia and the constipation.

Book an appointment with Mr Stellakis at the Warwick Bowel and Hernia Centre today to discuss your treatment options and take the first step towards relief and recovery.