Epigastric Hernia Symptoms Female
The symptoms of epigastric hernias are very common. They include:
1) Painful feeling when eating or drinking something.
Sometimes it feels like your stomach is being crushed and squeezed. It hurts so much that you feel dizzy or faint if you try to eat or drink anything hard. You may even vomit blood from pain.
2) You have a sudden urge to urinate.
Usually after you finish eating or drinking something, you may not be able to hold it in any longer and pee all over yourself. You may even get up and go to the toilet several times before you pass out completely. If this happens often, then there is probably some damage to your bladder or urethra.
3) Your abdomen feels tight and painful when sitting down or lying down.
This usually occurs when you are standing up too quickly.
4) You experience severe abdominal cramps.
These occur most often during the night time hours. They are worse at night because your body doesn’t want to sleep anymore since you don’t want to wake up from such intense pain!
5) You may feel like you need to urinate constantly.
This is due to pain in your bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).
6) You experience vomiting and nausea after eating or drinking.
This is a symptom that can be worse than the pain. Sometimes you feel like you are going to throw up several times but nothing is coming out. You start gagging and dry heaving. Sometimes the pain is so bad that you cannot even move yourself from laying back down again. You feel as if something is crushing your stomach and then squeezing it very tightly.
This will stop you from even taking deep breaths.
7) You notice that your belly button has become an outie instead of an innie.
Children are prone to epigastric hernias as well. Since they tend to be more active and move around a lot, this can cause certain symptoms to appear in them. They may have a lot of problems with breathing and swallowing. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms then you should take him or her to the emergency room immediately for treatment.
Children under the age of three seem to be especially prone to epigastric hernias. The usual symptoms that they experience are a sudden inability to eat or drink anything at all. You may see that your baby strains very hard when trying to pass stool. Sometimes you may notice that their belly button has become an outie and looks quite a lot bigger than normal.
They will probably cry a lot and not be able to get comfortable at all. Even holding them in your arms won’t seem to help. This condition requires immediate medical attention. If it is caught early enough, then there may be treatment available to fix the problem through surgery.
While epigastric hernias aren’t common in adults, they do occur in some people more than others. Men are more prone to getting one of these than women are. As people age, these hernias can become more common. It is not known why this is but it just happens in some individuals. All infants are born with an umbilical hernia since the intestines and other digestive organs protrude through the belly button at birth.
Most of these self heal on their own as the child grows older.
In some cases, they don’t heal at all and that is when you will need surgical intervention. If you think you are suffering from symptoms of an epigastric hernia, then you should seek medical attention immediately. If the hernia becomes strangulated, then surgery will be necessary.
A strangulated hernia occurs when a piece of the intestine gets trapped within the hernia sac. In this case, the blood supply has been cut off to the trapped intestinal tissue. If not treated immediately, this can result in gangrene and eventual removal of the dead tissue during an operation. In some cases, surgery is still required even if the hernia is not strangulated.
Children tend to suffer from epigastric hernias more often than adults do. If a child has a hernia that is strangulated, there is an increased risk for the development of a hiatal hernia as they grow older. This is a condition where part of the stomach actually slides up into the chest cavity through an opening called the diaphragm. It occurs because of the constant straining on the weakened area in the diaphragm.
The diaphragm muscle controls the entryway into our abdomen. When we eat, the muscle relaxes to allow for expansion into the stomach for digestion to occur. When we exhale or hold our breath, the muscle tightens up and forces everything back down into the abdomen.
Hiatal hernias can be very serious because some of the stomach contents can travel into the chest and even into the mouth. This can cause problems with breathing and even cause choking. In some extreme cases, this can cause death from lack of oxygen.
Not much is know about why some people get hiatal hernias and others do not. It is also not well understood why some epigastric hernias become strangulated while others do not. It is also not known why some hernias spontaneously reduce in size over time and others do not.
The most common symptom of an epigastric hernia is a swelling or protrusion that can be felt or seen under the skin in the upper central region of the abdomen. It may move down slightly into the umbilical area, but it will not go beyond that. It is rare for it to go all the way down into the pelvis area.
There will be no pain unless there is some sort of strangulation occurring. A strangulated hernia is very painful and is the result of the blood supply being cut off to a portion of the abdominal wall. The area can actually die and turn black and sluff off if not treated quickly.
The treatment for an epigastric hernia depends on the severity of symptoms. Sometimes they are so small that they may never cause any real problems. If the hernia begins to cause problems with breathing or causes severe pain, surgery will be necessary to repair it.
The surgery is called an epigastric hernia repair or an emergency hernia repair. There are also less invasive techniques that can be used to repair the hernia if the patient is not a good candidate for standard surgery. These are sometimes chosen for elderly patients or those with multiple health issues that would make the procedure too risky.
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes epigastric hernias can spontaneously reduce in size over time. This is uncommon, but does happen. If the hernia goes away on its own, then no treatment will be necessary.
If the hernia continues to grow or starts to cause pain or other symptoms, an epigastric hernia repair will be necessary.
The surgery is done with the patient under anesthesia; a small incision is made just below the navel and the hernia is repaired using different techniques depending on the type of hernia and how severe it is. The surgeon will choose the technique that they are most comfortable with and has had the most success with in the past.
There is quite a bit of recovery time after the surgery, but most patients are back to their regular activities within two to three weeks.
A few patients will have a recurrence of the hernia. If this happens, there are different surgical techniques that can be used to repair it again. The initial surgery tends to weaken the surrounding muscles and sometimes the repair procedure will not be as effective if done multiple times. The risk of complications also increases with each re-repair.
Most doctors will try to avoid re-repair when possible and use alternative methods to treat the condition. For some patients this may include a special support garment or medication to strengthen the weakened area around the hernia.
As with most surgeries, there are some risks involved. These include reaction to anesthesia, infection, blood clots, and injury to surrounding organs or tissues.
Most patients recover well from the surgery with minimal to no permanent side effects.
In some cases, a hernia will not repair with standard treatment and further investigation will be necessary to determine the cause.
Patients that are very active or work in certain jobs or tend to be very physically demanding may need to change their lifestyle after receiving this type of surgery.
A hernia repair is considered major surgery and patients will have to stay in the hospital for a few days to a week or two depending on the type of procedure. There will be a recovery period at home until the patient has regained their strength and no longer has any signs of bleeding or other complications. Most patients are able to return to work within a week to ten days, but strenuous activity should be avoided for about three weeks.
The patient will have a scar after the hernia repair, but most are placed in areas that can be covered with clothing. In some cases the scarring can be extensive and sometimes the surgeon may choose a different placement for the incision to minimize the visible scarring.
There is no way to prevent a hernia completely, but there are ways to reduce your risk. Lifting heavy objects and increasing your core strength will help to prevent a hernia. If you know you are prone to hernias, it is a good idea to have them repaired as soon as one is detected since these types of hernias tend to become more painful over time.
Most doctors will advise you against smoking since nicotine seems to increase the risk of a hernia.
If you have any pre-existing conditions that may complicate your surgery, it is a good idea to let your doctor know before the procedure. Conditions such as diabetes or other immune disorders may increase the risk of hernia recurrence. It is also a good idea to lose any extra weight if you are overweight since this can place an additional strain on your abdominal muscles.
Before deciding if you need surgery for your hernias, it is important to understand your alternatives. There are non-surgical methods of treatment available that may be recommended before surgery is considered. For small hernias, your doctor may inject a special foam into the sac to help push the intestines back through the tear in the abdominal wall. This is usually effective for small or medium sized hernias. In other cases where the hernia is medium to large in size and medical professionals prefer to use a mesh material to patch over the hole in the abdominal wall.
This is effective in most cases but the success rate is slightly lower than with the foam injection.
Most doctors will only perform this procedure in an emergency room setting using a local anesthetic since it is painful and they would prefer to wait until you can get to surgery.
If these less invasive techniques fail, then surgery will be necessary. In any case, you should discuss all of your options with your doctor before proceeding.
After the procedure you will need to have someone available to help you at home for a few days. Your doctor will probably give you specific instructions about what you can and cannot do after surgery. Most patients are able to go back to work after about a week, but strenuous activity should be avoided for about three weeks.
The recovery period can be quite painful for some patients and may require prescription pain medication. Most doctors will also give you stool softeners to prevent constipation since straining during bowel movements can be quite uncomfortable after the surgery.
When You Need Hernia Surgery
It can be difficult to decide if you need hernia surgery. You also want to make sure that you choose a medical professional that you can trust. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your doctor when deciding if surgery is right for you.
Are you in a lot of pain?
Not all hernias cause pain. If yours does, surgery is probably something you need to consider. While a lot of people suffer from minor discomfort caused by a hernia, some are in extreme pain and should have the surgery as soon as possible. Do not try to ignore the pain or hope that it will get better on its own.
Do you have other medical conditions?
If you have other conditions that affect your day to day life such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes it is very important to discuss these issues with your doctor before deciding whether or not you need surgery for your hernia. If any of your conditions are unstable, you may be at an increased risk during and after the procedure.
Does the hernia cause a strangulation of the intestines?
If the hernia has caused the intestines to become trapped or pinched, this is considered a strangulated hernia. Most doctors will recommend surgery since there is a high risk of peritonitis or other severe infection. These types of hernias also require immediate attention to avoid permanent damage to the affected organs.
Are you having difficulty breathing?
Strangulated hernias that cause the intestine to become trapped can also cause respiratory issues for the patient. Because the intestines are key in the digestive process, a strangulated hernia can cause a backup of waste that can release poisonous gasses. This can lead to difficulty breathing, which may become life threatening if not treated quickly.
Do you have other symptoms?
While many people suffer from hernias with no other symptoms, some may experience a dull ache or sharp pain around the affected area. Others may have issues with nausea, vomiting, fever, or diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to see a doctor right away since these can indicate a strangulated hernia which is a medical emergency.
When to See a Doctor
If you are over 45 and have no family history of hernias, speak to your doctor about getting tested since there is a slight chance that you may develop a hernia later in life. If you are over 60, have a family history of hernias, or experience any of the symptoms above, it is extremely important to get it checked out as soon as possible since these are the highest risk patients.
How is a Hernia Treated?
If you and your physician decide that you do need hernia surgery, there are a variety of methods available to treat the problem. The type of surgery you have will depend on the type and size of hernia as well as your overall health and age. If you require any pre- or post-op procedures, take the time to learn about them so you know what to expect during your procedure.
There are three types of hernia surgery techniques used today including:
Open surgery – The traditional open surgery requires an incision to be made directly over the area of the hernia. This allows the surgeon to enter the abdominal cavity, identify the cause of the hernia, and repair any damage.
The open surgery is typically only used in more complex procedures or if there is damage that needs to be repaired.
Robot-assisted surgery – The Da Vinci Robot is an innovative piece of technology that allows smaller incisions to be made and the procedure to be completed with fewer complications. The surgeon uses a console and controls a robot arm with tiny instruments that allow him to see inside the body through the incision. This type of surgery is only used for certain types of hernias.
Sources & references used in this article:
Umbilical and epigastric hernia repair by U Muschaweck – Surgical Clinics, 2003 – herniapants.com
Epigastric hernia and its etiology by B Lang, H Lau, F Lee – Hernia, 2002 – Springer
Pathogenesis of the epigastric hernia by JEH Ponten, KYA Somers, SW Nienhuijs – Hernia, 2012 – Springer
Ventralex mesh in umbilical/epigastric hernia repairs: clinical outcomes and complications by DF Martin, RF Williams, T Mulrooney, GR Voeller – Hernia, 2008 – Springer