Hernias 101

Hernia So, who’s doing the heavy lifting? If it’s always you…whether for your fitness training or to help a friend move, the warning “Be careful…you’ll give yourself a hernia” is a pretty common one. 

When fitness training, you are careful to use spotters and of course you know the amount of weight you can lift without causing injury.

There are, however, some things you can and cannot change when it comes to hernias.

Here are some hernia basics:

  • When tissue pushes through a weak spot in the groin muscle, causing a bulge in the groin or scrotum, that’s a hernia.
    • It may feel like a bulge, or a round lump and can occur with or without pain.
    • A hernia can also cause a feeling of heaviness, tugging, burning or swelling.
    • These symptoms may ease when you lie down.
    • However, if you experience sudden, sharp pain in your groin with accompanying nausea or vomiting, call your doctor immediately.
  • Some hernias appear soon after birth; some much later in life.
  • Hernias in infants and children cannot be prevented.
  • As an adult, however, you may be able to prevent a hernia, or at least prevent one from recurring.

Five things you can do to prevent hernias:

  1. Exercise to strengthen your stomach muscles.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Avoid straining when using the toilet.
  4. Stop smoking; prevent chronic coughing.
  5. When lifting weights or heavy objects, “lift with your legs and not with your back.”

Five things that can increase your risk of developing a hernia:

  1. Having a job that requires heavy lifting.
  2. Being a guy.
  3. Having weak muscles from birth or due to advanced age.
  4. Being born with or having already had a hernia.
  5. Being a pregnant woman.
  • Sadly, no amount of rest or time can heal a hernia.
  • But if it’s small and painless, surgical repair may not be immediately necessary.
  • However, to prevent future problems, most people eventually have hernia repair surgery, even if their hernia is not painful.

If you are concerned about a possible hernia, call Dr. Silverman at (617) 965-9500 or (800) 785-7860 for a consultation.


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