Early treatment can reduce hernia complications

Ralph Hutcheson knew early action was key when he got his second hernia. (WTHR photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - If you've had a hernia, you know they can be painful.

This month's Check Up 13 gives you a chance to have a free check with your doctor if you have or think you might have a hernia.

A hernia is a weak spot in the muscle or tissue. Doctors say patients tend to procrastinate getting a repair and don't realize hernias don't go away. Untreated, they can lead to complications.

"In general, as you get them to progress, they will progress to larger hernias which are more difficult to fix, which are more likely to have complications associated with it and are more likely to come back," said Ascension St. Vincent surgeon Dr. Paul Szotek.

Some people are born with hernias, others see them develop over time after surgery, pregnancy, overexertion or weight gain.

An overwhelming majority of hernia cases are in men like Ralph Hutcheson. He had his first hernia 20 years ago and said he learned an important lesson.

"Don't wait. It's never going to get better, it can only get worse," the 76-year-old said.

When his second hernia developed on the other side of his body, Hutcheson went to see the doctor right away. He knew that if he waited, the hernia could get bigger and cause complications.

His surgeon used the newer robotic surgery for his repair. He was amazed at the improved recovery time.

"Seven days out, feeling good," he said.

If you are 18 or older and you'd like to talk with medical staff about your hernia concerns, you can do so, free of charge, courtesy of Check Up 13 and Ascension St. Vincent.

Register by calling the hotline (866-824-3251) today, or registering online at WTHR.com through midnight tonight.

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