Best Natural Remedies For Hernia

Best Natural Remedies For Hernia
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MBBS, MS (General Surgery)

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Medically reviewed by

Dr. C Bhaskar

General Surgeon, Hyderabad

Reviewed on 23 Nov,2023

A hernia is a medical condition where an organ or tissue pushes through a weakened area in the surrounding muscles or connective tissue. While surgery is often recommended for hernia treatment, several natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms, strengthen the affected area, and promote overall well-being. Here, we'll explore the causes, signs and symptoms, treatment plan, and 10 best natural remedies for hernia to complement your treatment plan.

What are the causes of Hernia?

The following are some of the major causes of hernia.

  • Weak Muscles: Weakened muscles are the most common causes of hernia. This can occur due to aging, injury, or a congenital predisposition. Weak muscles cannot adequately support internal organs, making them more susceptible to herniation.
  • Strain and Pressure: Excessive strain and pressure on the abdominal or groin area can lead to hernias. This can result from activities such as heavy lifting, chronic coughing, or constipation, which add stress to the abdominal wall.
  • Congenital Factors: Some individuals are born predisposed to hernias due to congenital factors. These can include a naturally weak abdominal wall or an inherited connective tissue disorder, making hernias more likely to develop.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a significant risk factor for hernias. Excess body weight can increase abdominal pressure, weakening the muscles and making it easier for organs to push through weakened areas.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy significantly strains the abdominal muscles and pelvic area. This strain, combined with hormonal changes, can contribute to developing hernias, particularly in the groin or abdominal region.
  • Chronic Coughing or Sneezing: Conditions that cause chronic coughing or sneezing, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or allergies, can create repeated stress on the abdominal muscles, increasing the risk of hernias.
  • Smoking: Smoking is associated with a higher risk of developing chronic cough and increased abdominal pressure. The act of smoking and the chemicals in tobacco can weaken connective tissues, making herniation more likely.
  • Previous Surgeries: Surgical procedures in the abdominal or groin area can lead to weakened tissue or scar tissue formation. This can make hernias more likely to develop at or near the site of the previous surgery, known as an incisional hernia.
  • Physical Activity: Strenuous physical activities or exercises that place undue stress on the abdominal area can increase the risk of hernias. Athletes involved in activities like weightlifting or heavy resistance training may be more susceptible.
  • Inadequate Nutrition: Poor nutrition can lead to muscle weakness and impaired tissue repair. Consuming a diet lacking in essential nutrients can contribute to developing hernias.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of hernia.

  • Visible Bulge
  • Discomfort or Pain
  • Pressure or Heaviness
  • Burning Sensation
  • Swelling and Inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms
  • Constipation or Changes in Bowel Habits
  • Pain During Activities
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Treatment

The treatment of hernias can vary depending on the hernia's type, size, and severity. While watchful waiting, lifestyle modifications, and supportive garments may be suitable for some cases, surgical repair remains the most effective and common approach. Early intervention is essential to prevent complications and ensure a successful recovery. Consulting with a healthcare professional is vital to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual's situation. Here are some of the useful methods doctors might prescribe.

  • Watchful Waiting: In some cases, especially with small or asymptomatic hernias, healthcare professionals may recommend a "watchful waiting" approach. This involves monitoring the hernia's size and symptoms over time. If the hernia remains stable and does not cause discomfort, surgery may not be immediately necessary.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Certain lifestyle changes can help manage hernia symptoms and prevent their progression. These may include weight management, avoiding heavy lifting, treating underlying conditions like chronic cough, and dietary adjustments to prevent constipation and reduce intra-abdominal pressure.
  • Supportive Garments: For some individuals, especially those with inguinal hernias, wearing a supportive garment like a truss or hernia belt may provide temporary relief by keeping the hernia in place. However, this is not a permanent solution and should be used under medical guidance.
  • Medications: Medications can be prescribed to manage symptoms associated with hernias, such as pain and reflux. Over-the-counter antacids or acid-reducing medications can help alleviate acid reflux symptoms related to hiatal hernias.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: Most hernias require surgical intervention for a long-term solution. Minimally invasive procedures, such as laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgeries, are commonly used for hernia repair. These approaches involve making small incisions, inserting a camera and instruments, and repairing the hernia with mesh or sutures.
  • Open Surgery: In some cases, open surgery may be necessary, especially for larger or more complex hernias. This procedure involves making a larger incision and repairing the hernia with sutures or mesh. Open surgery is sometimes preferred for certain types of hernias or when complications are present.
  • Emergency Surgery: In cases where a hernia becomes incarcerated (unable to be pushed back in) or strangulated (blood supply is compromised), emergency surgery is necessary. These situations are considered surgical emergencies to prevent severe complications.
  • Robotic-Assisted Surgery: Robotic-assisted surgery combines the precision of a robot with a surgeon's expertise. It allows for greater dexterity and control in repairing hernias, often resulting in smaller incisions and quicker recovery times.
  • Postoperative Care: Regardless of the surgical approach, postoperative care is crucial for a successful recovery. This may include pain management, wound care, and a gradual return to normal activities as the surgeon advises.
  • Rehabilitation: Depending on the type and location of the hernia, rehabilitation exercises may be recommended after surgery to strengthen the affected area and reduce the risk of recurrence.

When To Call A Doctor

It's important to note that while the signs and symptoms mentioned here are common, they can vary depending on the type and location of the hernia. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare professional for a complete diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes, hernias may require surgical intervention to prevent complications and alleviate symptoms. Early detection and intervention are key to managing hernias effectively.

Natural Remedies For Hernia

Here are some natural remedies for the hernia to support your treatment.

  • Dietary Modifications:
    • Start with dietary changes by incorporating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These can prevent constipation, which can exacerbate hernia symptoms.
  • Aloe Vera:
    • Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied topically to soothe the discomfort associated with hernias. It may also promote tissue healing.
  • Ginger:
    • Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming ginger tea or adding fresh ginger to your meals can help reduce inflammation and ease hernia-related pain.
  • Slippery Elm:
    • Slippery elm can be made into a soothing gel or tea that coats the digestive tract. It can help alleviate discomfort caused by hernias and provide relief from acid reflux.
  • Turmeric:
    • Turmeric contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound. Incorporate turmeric into your diet or take curcumin supplements to reduce inflammation.
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises:
    • Doing gentle yoga and stretching exercises can improve flexibility, strengthen abdominal muscles, and alleviate hernia-related discomfort.
  • Castor Oil Packs:
    • Castor oil packs can be applied externally over the hernia area. They are believed to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and relieve pain.
  • Licorice Root:
    • Licorice root, when consumed as a tea or supplement, may help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and reduce symptoms like acid reflux.
  • Hawthorn Berry:
    • Hawthorn berries can be made into a tea that benefits the cardiovascular system. Supporting heart health can indirectly aid in managing hernia symptoms.
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises:
    • These exercises can strengthen the pelvic area muscles and support abdominal hernias, especially inguinal hernias.

It's important to note that while these natural remedies can complement conventional medical treatments, they should not be used as the sole solution for hernias. Always consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Additionally, if your hernia symptoms worsen or if you experience severe pain, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as surgery may be the most appropriate course of action in some cases.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hernias result from a combination of factors, often involving weakened muscles, increased abdominal pressure, and genetic predisposition. Recognizing these causes and taking preventive measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive strain, and seeking medical attention when needed, can help reduce the risk of hernias and promote early diagnosis and treatment. 

The above natural remedies for hernia can offer relief and support in managing this condition. However, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable approach for your specific situation. Combining these remedies with conventional medical treatment and lifestyle changes can contribute to a more comfortable and effective hernia management plan.

FAQ’s 

1. What is the main cause of hernia? 
A. The primary cause of hernias is weakened or compromised muscles and connective tissues. These weakened areas can be attributed to various factors, including genetics, aging, physical strain, and even lifestyle choices. The weakening of these structural elements allows organs or tissues to protrude, resulting in a hernia.

2. What are the first signs of a hernia?
A. The first signs of a hernia can manifest differently from person to person, but they often include subtle discomfort or sensations. These initial indicators may include a vague, intermittent ache, a feeling of fullness, or a slight pressure in the affected area. As the hernia progresses, you may notice a noticeable bulge or lump when standing or straining. 

3. What does a hernia feel like? 
A. Hernia can feel like a strange, uncomfortable sensation that's difficult to ignore. Some people liken it to a dull ache, a heavy or dragging feeling, or even a subtle but persistent pressure in the affected area. 

4. What happens if a hernia is left untreated?
A. Leaving a hernia untreated can lead to a cascade of complications and health risks. Think of a hernia as a structural weakness in a wall; if not addressed, it's like ignoring a crack in a dam. Over time, this can result in the following complications

  • Strangulation
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Digestive Issues:
  • Reduced Quality of Life
  • Risk of Infection
  • Complicated Surgery

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