Treatment options, on the other hand, are more limited. Surgery is the only procedure that can actually repair an inguinal hernia, but there are some steps you can take to prevent a hernia in the first place.
1. Exercise to strengthen weak areas
While daily exercise can do wonders for your body, you might be surprised by how many people ignore lifestyle changes. A 2013 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 80% of American adults don’t get recommended exercise.
Getting enough of the right type of physical activity every day can help strengthen areas where hernia is a risk.
Exercising with light weights, practicing yoga, walking, or doing non-impact aerobic activities like swimming can help you avoid hernias. And if you have a hernia, this type of exercise can help your condition and prevent any future damage.
2. Avoid improper heavy lifting
While exercise is important for overall health, improper heavy lifting or exercise techniques can increase the risk for hernia by putting pressure on your abdomen and groin.
If you’re new to weight lifting, find someone who can teach you the proper techniques, and try to ease into the new routines. You need to give your body time to build strength so the strain doesn’t become too much.
Also, some jobs require heavy lifting. If available, seek proper training to learn how to lift, bend, and use any equipment that is required. Generally, you should lift with your legs, not your back or abdomen. Make sure movements are steady, and when appropriate, ask for assistance to avoid placing excess strain on your body.
Even at home, you face risks for improper heavy lifting such as moving furniture and working outdoors. Find help when lifting heavy objects. Use proper form. Ease into new activities and strengthen muscles in your abdomen and groin areas before heavy use.
3. Avoid straining while using the restroom
Constipation is one of the risk factors for hernia. Lack of bowel movements increases pressure in the intestines, which may lead to a hernia. Additionally, excessive straining during bowel movements — whether due to constipation or not — can lead to a hernia.
The most common reasons for constipation is not getting enough water and lacking sufficient fiber in your diet. By increasing your water intake, you soften your stool, which prevents straining during bowel movements.
Even though we are told to drink those eight cups of water a day, many of us do not. In addition to preventing hernias by easing constipation, water is especially essential to those suffering from a hernia because it gives the body the opportunity to heal and recover.
A high fiber diet also makes bowel movements easier by softening the stool. Choose high fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber laxatives can also ease constipation gently, helping you avoid developing a hernia.
4. Avoid heavy coughing
Heavy coughing puts stress on your abdomen, which may cause a hernia. As much as possible, avoid excessive and heavy coughing if you’re at risk for hernia — if, for example, you’ve had a hernia before or have weakened abdominal or groin muscles.
One common cause of chronic coughing is smoking. There are a variety of therapies available that can help you stop or lessen smoking, and there are many benefits to quitting in addition to decreasing the risk of developing a hernia.
Additional causes of chronic coughing include asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and prescription drugs that may cause dry mouth. When possible, address these areas of concern to avoid excessive coughing that may increase the risk of a hernia.
5. Improve your BMI
High body mass index, or BMI, is associated with a number of health risks. Some believe it is also increases the risk of a hernia because the excess weight, especially around the stomach, chest, and groin, leads to excess strain. The strain may weaken key areas associated with a hernia.
A high body mass index is also associated with fatigue. Many cite fatigue as a reason for avoiding regular exercise. Fatigue may also lead to poor technique while exercising and heavy lifting.
If you have symptoms of a hernia, contact a specialist. At Texas Surgical Care, Dr. Ronald Ambe has extensive experience treating and repairing hernias.
We walk step by step with you on your path to a healthier and more progressive lifestyle until you reach your goal. Contact us at 832-280-8691 or book an appointment online to get started.