In addition to causing discomfort at work, it can lead to loss of earning in those who work. And for those who are retired it can spoil their recreational activities. Once a hernia has appeared, it will ultimately increase in size because of the abdominal pressure. For this reason, together with the risk of strangulation, hernias should be repaired unless there is a serious medical condition preventing surgery. In general, the more uncomfortable the hernia, the sooner it should be repaired.
What are the options for treatment?
While many people live comfortably with hernias for years, without treatment, hernias cannot and will not disappear. Non-surgical treatments and lifestyle changes are usually only temporary solutions. Surgery is advisable and the aim is to reduce the intestines back into their normal position, and repair the torn or weakened tissues. For inguinal hernias, an incision is made in the groin and a repair of the muscle defect in carried out with the insertion of a plastic mesh to strengthen the area.
The operation usually lasts less than an hour, and your recovery will take about 4 to 5 weeks. The hernia can also be repaired using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. Laparoscopic techniques of hernia repair are especially attractive when patients are dealing with recurrent hernias or bilateral inguinal hernias.
General precautions before surgery
- Stop smoking
- Discuss your current medications with your doctor
- Avoid heavy lifting
What happens when I get home?
Your recovery should be fairly rapid from Inguinal Surgery. You can take a shower or bath the day following surgery. You may feel some soreness around your incision for two or three days and notice a possible bruise around the area, which will disappear in several days. The discomfort in the area tends to ease as the days go by, however it can last for up to 2 weeks.
Are there any precautions to take?
To ensure a smooth and quick recovery following surgery you should pay attention to:
Lifting: Avoid heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks. After the first week lift only light objects that you can manage easily, keeping your back straight.
Sex: You will probably be able to resume sexual relations as soon as it feels comfortable for you. Usually after 10 days.
Medications: You will be given pain killers to use during your first few days to ease any pain.
Driving: You should be able to drive after 10 days or when you are comfortable to do the emergency stop without getting pain.
Exercise: Gentle walking and moderate exercise helps improving your circulation.
Diet: You may feel bloated or constipated for a few days. Resume a healthy, high fibre diet. Try not to strain when having a bowel movement. Drink lots of fluids and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
Work: You will be able to return to work usually within 2 weeks. Do not be surprised if you can return sooner than you expected!
When to call the doctor:
If you experience any of the following seek medical advice straight away.
- Fever (high temperature)
- Increasing swelling or pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Inability to urinate