Know the Signs of a Hernia Emergency

Know the Signs of a Hernia Emergency

A hernia is a condition that many people live with for a long time before getting surgery. While a hernia won’t just get better on its own, it doesn’t usually require emergency treatment. However, in some cases, it can become a serious problem. 

Here at Boca Care Surgical Associates, we offer comprehensive hernia care, including advice on when to seek surgery. Avraham Belizon, MD, FACS, FASCRS, wants to help you avoid any issues that a hernia might cause, including high-risk symptoms. Knowing how to identify these symptoms is also part of good hernia management. 

What a hernia is — and why you might wait for surgery

A hernia is a condition where a part of the stomach lining forms a sac that pushes through the abdominal wall. This can happen in different places and has different names depending on where and how it forms. Some hernias, like inguinal hernias, more commonly occur in men while femoral hernias are more common in women. 

Hernias might sound scary, but for many people, they don’t cause immediate problems. The bulge in your stomach lining might be the only symptom for a time; in fact, pain doesn’t even occur with every hernia. 

If your hernia doesn’t cause pain or other symptoms, you might choose to wait to seek surgery. The recovery takes time, and many people put it off until they can more easily manage it. But with this, there is always the risk — however mild — of complications. 

Recognizing the signs of a hernia emergency 

Many people live with their hernias up to and until they are ready to seek surgery for them. Noticing that a hernia has occurred, while scary, is not a reason to go straight to the ER. However, there are some signs that your hernia has gotten worse and that you are now in an emergency situation.  

As a rule, any change with your hernia should put you on alert. If it wasn’t painful before but is now, if you suddenly aren’t able to press the bulge back into your stomach, or if it changes color, these are all serious signs. In addition, difficulty passing gas, constipation, nausea, blood in your stool, and fever are all signs of a possible strangulated hernia. 

A strangulated hernia occurs when the sac presses through the hole in the abdominal wall, cutting off its blood supply. Though only about a 1-3% risk in hernia cases, a strangulated hernia is a serious medical condition. 

If this happens, you might have trouble with your bowels, feel lots of pain at the site, and experience nausea and vomiting. If you ignore the hernia at this point and still don’t seek help, the condition might become gangrenous, leading to shock and death. 

A good rule of thumb for hernia management

If you notice any of the signs of a strangulated hernia, go to the hospital immediately. But if you have a hernia that doesn’t cause pain and isn’t hard or firm, you don’t need to seek emergency treatment. 

Still, even  if you’re not in a serious situation, it’s always best to seek medical attention for a hernia. This way, your provider can diagnose the problem and discuss your options with you. 

Visit us today for a medical diagnosis of your hernia

Let us take a look at your hernia and discuss a plan that will help you going forward. We can determine if surgery is something you should seek soon or if it can be put off for a bit. Visit us at our Boca Raton, Florida, office: Call 561-395-2626, or book an appointment online.

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