Incarcerated Inguinal Hernia Symptoms & Treatment
Hernias come in various shapes and sizes. Some are very painful; others cause no discomfort at all. Some require immediate attention, while others may not need be addressed medically for months or years. Some may never have to be repaired. Inguinal hernias may become strangulated, or incarcerated inguinal hernias, which require immediate attention or surgery.
Inguinal Hernia Causes
Incarcerated inguinal hernias, or strangulated inguinal hernias, occur when an anatomical structure that is suppose to be inside the abdomen pushes through a hole in the abdominal wall. The protruding structure may be some fat, a loop of intestine, an ovary, the appendix, or part of the bladder.
The term incarcerated means “trapped or confined.” We most often associate it with the detainment of a convicted criminal, who has been confined to prison. Most hernias can be pushed back into the abdomen by gently applying pressure to them. An incarcerated hernia, however, is one that has become trapped and cannot be pushed back into its place.
Incarcerated Hernia Symptoms
Symptoms and characteristics of an incarcerated irreducible hernia include:
- May have previously been reducible, but has enlarged and can no longer be reduced
- Some may be long term without pain
- Can lead to strangulation
- Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may occur, such as nausea and vomiting, if the incarcerated hernia has become strangulated
Because of the dangers of the incarcerated hernia becoming strangulated and affecting bowel function and the likelihood that it will continue to increase in size, medical attention should be sought right away. Consult with your physician to determine the appropriate course of action and the immediacy of the need.
Hernias never repair themselves, inguinal hernias in particular, tend to increase in size over time. They are usually exacerbated when the abdomen is under strain, from lifting, bending, coughing, etc. Incarcerated hernias cause additional concern because they cannot be reduced.
Inguinal Hernia Treatment
Surgery is the only way to repair a hernia. In most cases, a surgeon will opt to repair an incarcerated hernia as soon as possible, usually within a matter of hours. The reason for the urgency is due to the possibility of strangulation in the hernia and the fact that damage may occur to the bowels before clinical symptoms become apparent.
Surgery For An Inguinal Hernia
Various surgical approaches are taken to repair abdominal hernias. The most common procedures are laparoscopic, and require far less recovery time than in years past. Generally, a post-operative patient is able to resume normal activities within a couple weeks. Most return to work within a few days, depending, of course, on the nature of their work and daily activities.