Many have opted to postpone medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid potential exposure to the virus. But if you are experiencing pressure or pain when bending, lifting, or coughing, you may have a hernia that won’t go away without medical attention.
A hernia is a condition characterized by a protrusion of an organ into an opening. More common in men over age 40, hernias typically occur in the abdomen as a result of muscle weakness and strain. Some may have a hernia in the belly button, groin, and upper thigh region. Hernias also can be due to congenital disabilities, injuries, straining activities such as lifting heavy weights, chronic coughing, and even pregnancy.
The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump on your pubic bone. Some may notice a lump near the belly button, groin or upper thigh region. In some cases, patients with hernias do not experience any symptoms. Some types of hernia; however, can cause symptoms like heartburn, trouble swallowing and chest pain.
“About 5% of the population will develop abdominal wall hernia,” said Dr. Gustavo Von der Lancken. “About 75% of these individuals will have an inguinal hernia, a protrusion of the abdominal wall. Hernias turn severe when the intestines protrude into the scrotum, obstructing blood flow. Untreated hernias are extremely painful for patients and can become gangrenous, which is fatal.”
The only option to fix a hernia is surgery. For adults, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and avoiding heavy lifting can help prevent an inguinal hernia.
Fear of the coronavirus shouldn’t keep you from scheduling an appointment for pain. But at Gateway Regional Medical Center enhanced safety precautions continue, including:
- Visitation restrictions
- COVID-19 screenings for all employees, visitors and patients
- Designated care areas for non-COVID-19 patients
- Disinfecting procedures
If you suspect you have a hernia, schedule a consultation with Dr. Von der Lancken call 618-451-7600. Delaying a minor problem could turn into a medical emergency.