Check Up 13
Welcome to Check Up 13, in partnership with Ascension St. Vincent
WTHR and co-anchor and health reporter Anne Marie Tiernon have partnered with Ascension St. Vincent, part of Ascension, one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., on an initiative called Check Up 13. The goal of Check Up 13 is to educate and encourage Indiana residents to take a proactive role in their own health. Check Up 13 includes news stories that will air on the 13th of every month during WTHR's Health Beat segment. The monthly program will highlight providers and patient success stories at Ascension St. Vincent and focus on the health topic screening, event or promotion for that month.
Do you have a hernia? Sign up for a free screening
Many of us have known someone who has experienced the pain of a hernia. But what exactly is a hernia? What causes it? How do you treat it?
WHAT IS A HERNIA?
A hernia occurs when a weak spot in the muscles of the abdominal wall allows for part of an organ or fatty tissue to bulge or push through, often causing pain and swelling.
Hernias usually develop in the abdomen, but can also appear in the belly button, groin or thigh.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF HERNIAS IN ADULTS?
In adults, the most common types of hernia are:
- Inguinal hernias which are the most common type making up nearly 70 percent of all hernias and occur in the upper thigh near the groin.
- Incisional hernias, which are caused by the abdominal wall failing to heal properly after surgery, leaving an opening in the muscle layer.
- Hiatal hernias, which occur when a hole in the diaphragm allows part of the stomach to protrude upward into the cavity of the chest and can lead to acid reflux, chest pain and difficulty swallowing.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF A HERNIA?
A weak spot in the muscle or tissue can result from a variety of things. Some hernias can result from a birth defect while other can result from a variety of factors including:
- Strain and physical exertion
- Excessive and chronic coughing and sneezing
- Damage from injury or surgery in the affected area
- Lifting heavy items
- Sudden weight gain or obesity
- Age-related muscle deterioration
- Pregnancy (abdominal pressure)
- Fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites)
RISK FACTORS FOR A HERNIA:
Common risk factors for developing a hernia include:
- A personal or family history of hernias
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic cough
- Smoking (which can trigger persistent coughing)
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HERNIAS:
It’s important to identify the early warning signs of a hernia. The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge in the affected area – abdomen, groin, or upper thigh. This bulge is usually painful to the touch and more visible when standing.
Hernias often come with pain and discomfort and can also include symptoms of groin pain, abdominal pressure, difficulty swallowing and nausea.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR A HERNIA:
All new or newly-discovered hernias should be examined by a medical provider. While not all hernias are serious –and some can even be treated with a gentle push – all hernias can become serious if left untreated.While hernia pain can often be tolerated temporarily, a hernia will not go away on its own and could grow to become more painful or cause potentially life-threatening complications
Treatment options for a hernia include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.
Typically, the severity of your symptoms and the size of your hernia can help to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Lifestyle changes and medication can help to manage the effects of some hernias. However, if your hernia is growing larger or causing pain, your doctor may decide it’s best to operate to patch any holes in the abdominal wall. Hernias can be repaired with either open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE A HERNIA?
Most hernias can be diagnosed through a routine physical or medical examination. Your provider may feel for a bulge in your abdomen or groin that gets larger when you stand, cough, or strain. Other types of hernias may require doctors to use an X-ray or endoscopy.
SIGN UP FOR A FREE HERNIA SCREENING THROUGH ‘CHECK UP 13’:
If you think you may have a hernia and would like to be examined, sign up for a no-cost hernia screening at Ascension St. Vincent through ‘Check Up 13’ and learn about treatment options that could help you.
Each screening will take about 15 to 20 minutes and take place in a private exam room with a provider performing an examination for signs of a hernia.