A hernia develops when a part of your intestine or any other tissue in your abdomen protrudes out from the section of the abdominal hall that has weakened. It demands immediate physician intervention whenever you suspect a hernia. Though all type of hernias requires a surgical procedure for repairing and healing, sports hernia and hiatal hernia repair without surgery can happen.
But, wouldn’t it be wise to prevent a hernia from occurring in the first place? There are various ways following which you can prevent a hernia altogether. However, there are certain factors which are not in our control. If you have had an abdominal surgery you will be at a risk of an incisional hernia and if you are born with a natural muscle weakness in your abdominal wall then you will be prone to developing a hernia at that location.
Maintain a healthy body weight
When you are overweight and obese and carry much of your body fat in your abdominal region you are putting yourself at a high risk of developing a hernia. This is because due to the accumulation of fat in your abdominal region, you are, actually, putting unnecessary additional pressure on your abdominal wall.
Whenever you stand or simply walk around, your abdominal wall is under a constant pressure from the extra layers of fat present in your abdomen. Hence, you must strive towards shedding those extra pounds and relieve your abdominal wall from all that extra pressure.
Losing those extra pounds will have a host of other beneficial effects as well improving the overall quality of your life.
Include right exercises in your exercise schedule
Being physically active is one of the best ways to keep your abdominal muscles strong and prevent a hernia from occurring. However, you must take into account whether your exercise schedule includes the right exercises or not.
Yoga, Pilates, light weights, and aerobic activities such as running or cycling don’t increase pressure on your abdominal wall and must be a part of an exercise regimen.
Moreover, in any exercise, if you are lifting weights off the floor, please pick them up by applying pressure from your knees rather than your back and keep your abdominal muscles tight. Abdominal strengthening exercises like planks, side planks, and abs wheel rollout must be an integral part of your exercise schedule. Moreover, strengthening your hips and glutes also contribute effectively towards decreasing the pressure on your abdominal wall.
However, be careful and don’t exert your body beyond its current capability. If you feel you can’t lift a particular weight at the current moment then don’t go for it.
It is important that you go slow and gradually increase your intensity of exercise so that your muscle gets ample time to develop and become stronger.
High-fiber foods are a must
Hernias can develop when you strain your muscles for a bowel movement. In cases of constipation you have to apply extra pressure when defecating and hence, you put yourself at a risk of developing a hernia.
To prevent constipation from occurring in the very first place it is important that you include fiber-rich foods in your diet plan and meets your daily fiber intake. However, if on certain days you are unable to include fiber-rich foods in your diet, you can take the help of a fiber supplement to meet your daily recommended fiber intake. A preparation containing psyllium can also help in keeping your bowel movements regular so that you don’t fall prey to constipation or straining during bowel movements.
Also, staying well-hydrated is a must to avoid constipation.
Smoking can cause coughing. In fact, smoking is one of the leading causes of a chronic cough. A chronic cough can lead you to develop a hernia as it strains your abdominal muscles whenever you cough or sneeze.
Besides that, avoiding and quitting smoking has a lot of other beneficial effects as well.
Check signs for an enlarged prostate
If you have an enlarged prostate, get it treated right away as an enlarged prostate can lead to unnecessary straining during urination which can increase the pressure on your abdominal walls.
Signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate include waking up twice or more every night for urination, straining to make your urine flow faster, and straining to get your bladder empty when nearing the end of urination.
Preventing an incisional hernia
Though all the above ways are effective in preventing an incisional hernia, there are some more tips to prevent an incisional hernia from occurring.
- Avoid any activities that put pressure on the area of your wound.
- Follow all the post-operative steps judiciously. For example, if you are provided with a gel for applying on your surgery site then you must not skip it and apply it according to the recommended and prescribed schedule.
- Avoid sexual activity until the surgery area has healed properly.
- Be active and don’t gain weight. It is a common practice that people tend to go physically inactive for long periods of post surgery. Ask your surgeon for a correct exercise plan for you and follow the same judiciously to avoid gaining extra weight, especially around your abdominal region.
- Women must not become pregnant within at least six months post-surgery. This is because the abdominal walls present at the surgery location are weak and becoming pregnant will put extra pressure on them which they are not capable to take as of now.
Remember, a hernia is best avoided rather than treated. Stay physically active, be in a healthy weight range, and keep your abdominal muscles strong. Take a healthy and fiber-rich diet to prevent a hernia from occurring in the very first place. However, if you do suspect that you have developed a hernia, immediately consult a doctor rather than waiting for the symptoms to go away on their own. The early you treat it, less are your chances to develop further complications.