What causes an epigastric hernia
An Epigastric Hernia usually occurs at birth but it can also develop in adults on rare occasions. A hernia of this kind can be caused by the weakening of the abdominal wall, coughing, straining on the toilet, heavy lifting, obesity, or a build up of fluid in the abdomen.
What are the symptoms of an epigastric hernia?
In babies and young children, there will be a noticeable lump which will be more apparent when pressure is put upon the abdomen. In adults, there is usually swelling or a bulge in the upper abdominal area (the epigastric region) that is visible when pressure is applied to the region e.g during bowel movements, when coughing or during heavy lifting. The bulge can range from the size of a small grape to a large grapefruit.
Epigastric hernia treatment
Epigastric Hernia Surgery is the recommended option. Even though an epigastric hernia can be relatively painless, if they are left untreated they can enlarge. Leaving them alone can also increase the risk of strangulation , making them more difficult to repair.
There are two main surgical repair treatments available for those suffering from the condition:
- Open mesh repair- A small incision is made at the hernia site, the bulge is returned, and a fine mesh is placed over the opening. The body then heals around it.
- Keyhole surgery (Laparoscopic repair) – Four small incisions made through the abdominal wall. A small thin telescope and surgical instruments are then positioned to examine and deal with the hernia internally
Is no treatment an option
Many hernias do not hurt so the temptation is to ignore them and not seek medical advice. However this can be damaging and is not recommended. If left untreated an Epigastric Hernia will grow and discomfort and pain, even if negligible to start with, will intensify.
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