Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Most inguinal hernias cannot be prevented, especially in infants and children. In fact, adults may be able to prevent a few hernias or prevent its recurrence by following the below mentioned simple tips:
Manage weight issues – Obesity and over-weight causes greater abdominal pressure, it puts you under the risk of developing inguinal hernia. Maintain healthy weight through exercise and diet.
Avoid Rapid Weight loss – Rapid weight loss or programs involving it may be lacking in protein and vitamins that are very much needed to maintain muscle strength. Loss of muscle strength will cause weakness in the abdominal muscles which can cause hernia. Crash dieting also has similar impact.
Stop smoking – Smoking habits are related to chronic coughing. Chronic cough once again increases the risk of developing hernia.
Read related: Ayurvedic Smokers Diet – Must Have Herbs In Your Diet
Avoid constipation – Constipation should be checked. If one has chronic constipation or regular constipation, it is good to overcome this issue by seeking medical attention.
Avoid straining – Straining during bowel movements and urination also should be avoided. Straining causes increased pressure inside the abdomen which may in turn cause hernia.
Avoid weight lifting – Heavy weight lifting is associated with hernia. Therefore one needs to be cautious while lifting weights. Good body mechanics should be used while lifting heavy objects (if it is mandatory). Lift with your legs, not with your back.
Read related: Inguinal Hernia – Causes, Symptoms, Differential diagnosis, Treatment
High fiber diet – Push self towards eating lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains containing fibers. These foods prevent constipation and straining.
No truss – Do not rely on truss. A supportive garment designed to keep hernias in place is called hernia truss. It doesn’t correct the problem or help prevent complications. Doctors may recommend a truss for short time before surgery, only to make you feel comfortable, but it is not a replacement or substitute for surgery.
Avoid large meals – It is good to avoid hard, large or heavy meals. This may cause indigestion, flatulence and distension on regular basis. It may also create a pressure on the abdomen and pelvic organs on constant basis. This may predispose for development of hernias.
Don’t lie down – Immediately after taking meals take care that you do not lie down or do too much of bending and stretching.
Avoid acidic and oily foods – Avoid acidic foods which cause acid reflux or heartburn, such as spicy foods, tomato etc. also avoid foods fried in oil, junks, stale and contaminated unwholesome foods.
Warm ups – Before getting into any athletic activities or exercises make sure that you warm up properly.
Strengthen abdominal muscles – with strength exercises.
Rest properly – after vigorous exercise particularly after lifting.
Home Remedies for Inguinal Hernia
Push the bulge – If the bulge of reducible hernia is seen, gently push the bulge into the abdominal area
Lift pelvis – Lie down in the slanting position with the pelvis slightly higher than the head
Ice pack – Place ice packs on the hernia bulge slowly so that the hernia can slide in
Licorice – will help in healing damaged areas in the esophagus and stomach which is caused by hernia. 1 spoon of its powder should be taken mixed in half cup of milk.
Ginger – 1 cup of ginger root tea is consumed on empty stomach. It relieves the pain caused by hernia.
Chamomile Tea – Warm chamomile tea should be consumed at regular intervals. It soothes the pain caused by hernia. Black tea is the preferred one.
Buttermilk – will help to ease out the pain of hernia. Buttermilk should be consumed at least 3 times in a day. It is also a good substitute for those who do not love or like tea.
Water – Consume lot of water when you have hernia. It will help in easing stomach pain associated with inguinal hernia
Fruits – like avocado and pineapple will help in hernia. They help to relieve inflammation, pain and swelling caused by hernia. Fresh cut fruits should be consumed. Fruit juices also can be taken.
Green Veggies – Green vegetables like broccoli, bitter gourd, cabbage etc are the best vegetables which shall be included in the diet by one who is suffering from hernia. They help in strengthening the muscles which protect the internal organs.
Milk – is a soothing food useful in hernia. 1 glass of milk should be consumed on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. A pinch of turmeric can also be added to the milk before consuming it.
Green tea – is the best one for those suffering from hernia. 1 cup of green tea should be taken twice daily.
Wheat – Wheat ingredients should be added in the diet of the person suffering from hernia. Whole grains will help in bowel movement and is also good in relieving pain.
Marshmallow root – improves digestion, relieves acidity and acid reflux, thus help to alleviate symptoms related to hernia.
Hawthornia – strengthens muscles that support and protect the internal organs. It may help in stopping hernia from developing and prevent its recurrence. It is an herbal supplement and consists of herbs like citrus seeds, hawthorn and fennel.
Shepherd’s purse (herb) – helps to relieve inflammation, pain and swelling. It can also reduce bleeding and infection. Its tincture may be applied externally to the area affected by hernia so as to alleviate the symptoms. It can also be taken in the form of supplements.
Acupuncture – In this stimulation of certain pressure points is known to help in reducing pain and discomfort. It may not help in curing the problem but may help in dealing with its symptoms.
Gentle exercises – Engage in gentle exercises which help in toning core abdominal muscles. Also these exercises, on regular practice help in reducing excess body weight. This lowers the pressure on the abdominal muscles. Avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting (weights). Take an opinion of your doctor, physiotherapist or trainer before starting any exercise schedule. Avoid exercising immediately after eating. It can be done 2-3 hours after consuming food. Avoid exercising on full stomach.
Avoid stress – Stress can aggravate stomach ailments and acid reflux. Therefore learn to manage stress effectively through Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises etc.
Ice compression – helps to alleviate pain and swelling caused by hernia
No heat or pressure – Avoid applying any form of heat or pressure over the hernia area
Wear loose clothing – Tight clothes exert pressure on the abdomen. Therefore, in case of hernia it is always advisable to wear loose and comfortable clothing
Head end elevation – Keep the head end of your bed elevated by about 6 inches. This will prevent stomach acids from travelling back into your food pipe (esophagus) while sleeping. Use bricks to elevate the bed frame and avoid using pillows as they might increase stress on the abdomen.
Small meals – Avoid eating large quantities of meals in one sitting. Rather opt for smaller meals. Small meals can be taken frequently throughout the day rather than having large meals at one take.
Avoid lying down – or bending immediately after food
Alcohol and smoking – avoid them
Diet for Hernia – It should be high in protein (cottage cheese, tuna and chicken etc) and low in fat (low fat milk and dairy products etc). Foods rich in fat and low in protein can cause weakness of abdominal walls leading to risk of developing hernia. Fiber rich food is good. Plenty of fresh fruits (apples, pears etc) rich in fiber content should be consumed. Nuts, whole grains and beans are also excellent sources of fiber. Fibers will promote bowel movements and alleviate constipation. This will help in reducing the symptoms of hernia.
Medical advice – Take immediate medical advice if you have chronic cough or respiratory disorders, bronchitis, constipation and other forms of allergies
Capsule Yoga – This is the simplest and most effective exercise for inguinal / umbilical / incisional / femoral hernias.
- Pull in your abdomen (for inguinal hernia) or tummy (for umbilical hernia)
- Hold for 3 seconds
- Release slowly
- Repeat this for 10 times
- Try doing it once every hour throughout the day
- Avoid doing this for 2 hours after meals, can be done at other times
- Increase the holding duration to 5-7 seconds as and when you are comfortable
- Do it in your routine schedules, while sitting at work or driving or cooking or watching TV or while at walk
- The more you repeat, the more it will have impact
Impact of gentle Yogic stretching – Gentle Yogic stretching in static and dynamic form is ideal for gradually strengthening the weak muscles of abdomen and peritoneum, for enhancing profuse supply of oxygenated blood that nourishes, activates, tones and strengthens the muscles and peritoneum. This also will improve the tensile strength of the muscles which will in turn prevent displacement of internal organs. Exercise will ensure that the Hernia doesn’t recur.
Yoga for Hernia
Yoga needs to be practiced regularly and religiously without over-doing it. You need to support the hernia region with your free palm while you exercise. Below mentioned Yoga postures will be helpful (Avoid in Hiatal hernia).
Warning – Take the opinion of Yoga experts before choosing to practice yoga or do it under guidance
Utthana Padasana – Raised leg pose
Sahajagnisar mudra in Sukhasana
Just before Finishing –
Inguinal Hernia is a common condition which causes bulge, pain and discomfort in the inguinal region and scrotum. Surgical repair is the best one in combating this problem. But in mild conditions or until the surgery date is fixed or in conditions when surgery is postponed or couldn’t be immediately done, the home remedies can be tried. But prevention is also the key in these diseases. This article focuses on the preventive aspects of inguinal hernia; home remedies and Yoga postures which might help prevent or ease the inguinal hernia.
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