Hernia in women is not generally heard of or talked about. As a general rule it is considered to be a manly thing since it is associated with heavy lifting and such bodily activities. Women form only 9% of those diagnosed. Whereas the truth is that a women is equally likely prone to hernia as a man is. Still the female count diagnosed with this disease is so less. It could be because they are too embarrassed to see a doctor or the hernia is hidden. Hernia in women is generally very small and the bulge is not as obviously visible as in men.
Causes of hernia in women
A hernia is essentially a bulge or protrusion of tissue through a membrane or hole. It is also known as rupture. When the membrane of a body part grows weak it may develop a hole or rupture and tissues may penetrate out through this opening. Sometimes it may not be visible on external surface and may appear as bulge on the skin, for example slight bulges near the belly button. This is more commonly a defect in the abdominal wall as compared to other body organs.
Hernias can be very painful but at the same time not all hernia cause pain. At times the patient might not even be aware of its presence whereas at other times the patient may undergo excruciating pain. Since they are commonly found in the abdominal area, it is recommended that severe pain in abdomen should never be taken lightly or ignored. It will be wise to refer a doctor in such case and get yourself tested for the presence of hernia. Studies suggest that most of the times women suffering with pelvic pain might be diagnosed with having ovarian cyst or fibroids when they were actually having a hidden hernia. Some doctors may wrongly suggest an ultrasound or other such tests but as a matter of fact MRI is the only sure test to detect its presence. Once it is diagnosed it can be treated effectively, the pain will also vanish away and you will not have to live with it as a part of your body anymore.
The most common symptoms of hernia in women are:
- A sudden tearing sensation felt in the groin or belly button.
- A bulge or swelling that may come and go with severe, slight or even no pain at all.
- When lifting something, coughing or sneezing, pain may be felt.
- Also pelvic pain for a very prolonged time may be indicative of hernia.
Types of hernia in women
The different kinds of hernia that can be commonly found in women are:
- Ventral hernia: Ventral hernia is also referred to as incisional hernia. It is one of the most common hernias since a female undergoes several surgeries as compared to a man and that too at comparatively younger ages. They may appear in areas you have undergone surgery as small or large bulge. They might occur after a week of surgery or even years after the surgery took place.
- Femoral Hernia: Femoral hernia is a rare hernia and occurs exclusively amongst women. This kind is generally experienced after pregnancy or child birth. A part of intestine may protrude through the lower groin into the femoral canal due to weakening of the wall. The femoral canal is a space near femoral vein. Femoral vein is responsible for carrying blood from legs to heart. This kind of hernia may grow to be very complex and complicated. Hence it is advised that they be treated as soon as detected without waste of time.
As an initial attempt every doctor aims at pushing back the hernia by means of medicines if it is possible. But in most cases surgery is the easiest way out and most permanent solution of hernia. The surgery can be open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. In open surgery there is a large incision or cut at the affected area where as in case of laparoscopic surgery only a small incision is made and surgery is performed by help of special cameras and instruments. In both kinds of surgeries the doctor puts back the protrusion or bulge and then in order to support the weakened wall a synthetic mesh is fixed to the muscles. This synthetic mesh provides additional strength to the membrane.
A major factor for hernia is age and genetic propensity and nothing much can be done about that. But still as a precautionary measure you may consider to include fibrous content in your diet. This will help in easy bowel movements and prevent constipation which in the long run may cause. Being overweight increases the risk of hernia. So it is advisable to keep a strict eye on your weight. Also, avoid smoking, because it may cause coughing and prolonged cough may lead to hernia. At the same time avoid heavy lifting.