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When it comes to hernias, size does matter

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – There are over one million hernia surgeries every year in the U.S. alone, and 800,000 of those are to treat the most common type – an inguinal hernia. They affect all ages, races, and genders. Learn symptoms to watch out for.

Does laughing, coughing, or lifting weights cause a pain in your groin area? You might have a hernia.

Donald Dilworth, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Baptist Health System Hernia Center, San Antonio says, “Now, we have some natural breaks in the abdominal wall that have to occur. But when something else that's not supposed to go through there goes through that area, that's what creates a hernia.”

A hernia creates a bulge in the groin wall. There are six types but the most common is an inguinal hernia and it mainly occurs in men.

Dr. Dilworth continued, “We have some hernias that have spleens in them, livers in them, things like that. Typically, it's either intestines or fat.”

Hernia’s not only occur in adults. The inguinal wall in a baby closes shortly after birth. But if it doesn’t fully close, a hernia might develop but not show up until the child grows up. The only option to fix the hernia is surgery, but …

“There is a remote risk for mesh infection,” said Dr. Dilworth.

You cannot prevent an inguinal hernia in a child, but for adults try to keep your weight down, don’t strain while using the bathroom, exercise regularly to strengthen your abdomen, and avoid lifting heavy objects. And bigger hernias are less dangerous than small ones.

“The smaller they are the more risk they might be for getting intestines stuck in them,” stated Dr. Dilworth.

For hernias, size matters!

Nearly one in four men will get a hernia in their lifetime. Also, up to ten percent of premature babies could be affected by a hernia. And for moms, pregnancy could increase your risk for a hernia as being pregnant can weaken the muscles in the abdomen and cause increased pressure inside.

Contributors to this news report include: Keon Broadnax, Field Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.