Do’s and Don’ts after Incisional Hernia Treatment
Do you know that almost 2 percent of the world population suffers from a hernia? When a tissue bulges from its actual location in the body, it results in a hernia. A hernia is more common in men compared to women. Also, infants & children are more prone to this protrusion compared to adults. Hernia treatment is mainly done via laparoscopic surgery. Hernias occur around our abdominal cavities, usually between the hips and the chest.
What are the types of incisional hernia?
Hernias are found in two major areas. These are the abdominal wall & groin area. The abdominal hernia is also called a ventral hernia. While hernias around the groin & legs area are called inguinal hernias. It is further divided into three categories:
- Hiatus hernia is found near our diaphragm separating chest and abdomen
- An umbilical hernia develops around our belly button area
- Incisional hernia is found around the area where previous surgeries have been done
What are the Symptoms of Hernia?
Untreated hernia can create a lot of trouble. It gets bigger and worse with time. A major problem with a hernia is that people are unaware of its existence. Immediately seek a doctor if you have a bulge or protrusion. It can be around the abdomen area or the public area. Don’t ignore pain when sitting upright or standing. It might be a hernia!
Some of the major symptoms of a hernia are:
- Bulging around the area
- Burning sensation
What are the risk factors of hernia?
A hernia can develop due to several instances. Some common reasons are strenuous physical activities and heavy lifting. Some people are more prone to hernia than others. Those who are:
- Above the age of 60
- Born with soft or weak muscles
- Have chronic constipation
What are the treatment options for Hernia?
The best option for a painful hernia is surgery. Doctors sometimes prefer medicines or watchful waiting. These options are in case the patient is a weak or compromised system. Surgery is recommended by doctors in most cases. Hernia repair surgeries can be ‘open’ or laparoscopic.
- Open surgery: The surgery follows cutting the body where the hernia is located. The protruding part is pushed back. The weak muscular wall in then stitched back. Some patients need extra support in the form of mesh implantation.
- Laparoscopic surgery: This surgery involves microscopic incisions rather than cuts. Surgical tools are then inserted through this insertion. After completing the process, the incisions are closed.
- Robotic Hernia: It is a similar type of surgery to incisional hernia repair. The surgeon performs the surgery via a console. It is generally used for smaller hernias and weaker areas. It is also used for reconstructing the abdominal muscles and the wall.
What to expect after hernia surgery?
Recovering after a hernia treatment requires patience. Basic tasks become awkward and difficult. Have your family or relatives stay with you for 1-2 days if possible. Here are a few things you can expect immediately after your hernia surgery:
- The incision(s) area will remain painful for some time. Nurses will check on this pain. In case of unmanageable pain, you will receive pain medication. It is important to be transparent about your pain status.
- If the pain is not controlled, you will have difficulty breathing, coughing, using your spirometer, getting up, and walking.
- After the surgery, you need time to heal. This can take two to five more hospital days. Your exact surgery will determine the hospital stays.
- Refrain from performing only basic activities till four days from your hernia surgery
- Doctors also recommend light stretching and walking.
- It is important to take the medications as needed and directed. Self-medication is a complete no-no.
- It is important to prevent constipation during the initial days after surgery. Make a bathroom schedule and stick to it. This will help the body get accustomed. Avoid any bladder pressure. If there is an urge, do not wait.
- Keep checking the incision area for any drains. Call your doctor in case of drainage higher than normal.
- Call immediately if the prescribed medication is not relieving your pain.
Do’s and Don’ts during hernia
Getting a discharge from the hospital does not mean you are completely healed. There are certain instructions to follow. These can help in fast recovery and minimum complications. Here are certain do’s and don’ts after incisional hernia surgery:
- Avoid consuming alcohol for a minimum of 2-3 days after surgery
- Do not operate any heavy machinery post-surgery
- Avoid signing any legal papers for at least 48 hours after surgery. You might be under the influence of surgical anesthesia.
- Do not take any pain medication without your doctor’s recommendations
- Do not stretch or strain as this will put sudden pressure on your wound.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights, exercise, or any strenuous activity
- When exercising, use your back and knees and not your abdominals
- Opt for right exercises like walking for a speedy recovery
- Avoid bath or shower for two days
- Based on your comfort level and doctor suggestions, resume your sexual activities.
- Do not ignore pain. In case of any discomfort or pain after any activity, just stop it.
What should be my diet after a hernia treatment?
Losing appetite after surgery is normal. Reasons could be stress post-surgery or pain. It is important to maintain a good diet after surgery. A proper diet can help speed up the process of healing after hernia treatment.
- Protein Intake: Your protein intake should be high. Include eggs, soy, fish, cottage cheese, nuts, dairy, and meat in your diet.
- Vitamin C: Include vitamin C in your diet for a speedy recovery. Include citrus fruits like lemon and oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and cauliflower in your diet.
- Vitamin D: Consume foods high in vitamin D. These include cereals, orange juice, and almond milk
- Calcium intake: Calcium intake is important for your bones and strength. Include dairies like cheese, milk, and yogurt. Also add seeds like chia, sesame, and poppy seeds. Almonds are also a good option.
Complications after hernia surgery
Being careful is critical after incisional hernia surgery. In case of any complications, call your doctor immediately. Serious complications can be:
- Sudden rise in pain around the surgical area
- Increased redness around the incision area
- Drainage or bleeding at the site
- Vomiting or Nausea
- Trouble Urinating
- High Fever
- Excessive bruising or swelling at the site
Some of the most common causes of hernia are prolonged cough, chronic constipation, heavy weightlifting, and poor nutrition. Obesity can also increase the risk of hernia. Once a hernia is detected, surgery is usually the right option. A good diet and a healthy lifestyle can dramatically reduce the occurrence of hernias.