A hernia occurs when part of an organ pushes through an opening in the tissue or muscle that holds it in place. A common type of hernia occurs when part of your intestines breaks through a weakened spot in your abdominal wall, but they can also occur in your upper thigh, groin and belly button areas. Like all health conditions, prevention is preferred to treatment, so today, we’re going to take a closer look at 10 ways you can help prevent a hernia from developing in the first place.
How To Prevent Hernias
Here are ten ways you can reduce your risk of developing a hernia:
- Healthy Weight – If you’re overweight, your abdominal wall is going to be under extra pressure from your body fat. Losing weight is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of developing a hernia.
- Controlled Exercise – Being physically active can help strengthen muscle tissues and prevent the onset of hernias, but over-exercising and intense actions can actually increase your risk, so smart, controlled exercise is the way to go. Swimming, cycling and ab routines are good, while having poor form on squat routines can increase your hernia risk.
- Healthy Diet – A healthy diet and regular water consumption can help to prevent constipation, which can lead to the development of a hernia when going to the bathroom. Fiber-rich foods like vegetables, nuts and whole grains are all smart options.
- Medication Management – If you are taking any medications for other conditions, make sure they don’t disrupt normal bowel function. If they are causing constipation, talk to your doctor about switching to a different type of medication.
- Smart Lifting – A number of people develop their hernia when attempting to lift a heavy object. Use smart lifting techniques, proper form and protective gear when performing frequent or heavy lifts. For larger loads, grab a co-worker or family friend to help shoulder the load.
- Avoid Smoking – Smoking can decrease blood flow to certain areas and weaken tissues, so kick the habit if you’re a smoker. Smoking can also lead to coughing fits, another common cause of hernia development.
- Treat Persistent Cough – If you have asthma or another health condition that is causing a persistent cough, visit your doctor or a specialist to get the coughing under control. Coughing exerts a moment of stress on the body that can overload an area and lead to a hernia.
- Allergy Management – Similar to caring for a cough, a sneeze can also cause an organ to push through the abdominal wall. Work with an allergy specialist to get your allergies under control if you find that they are causing you to sneeze frequently or intensely.
- Post-Surgery Schedule – Incisional hernias can develop at the location of a previous surgery, so it’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-op activity recommendations. Overdoing it or rushing back into activity before the incision has had time to fully heal can contribute to an incisional hernia.
- Know Your Family History – Finally, if you have a family history of hernias, bring this up to your doctor at your next consultation to get specific advice on how you can best prevent hernias.
For more tips on how to prevent a hernia, or to learn about your treatment options, reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office today.