A hernia is a medical condition that occurs when organs or other tissue in your abdomen protrude through the muscle wall. The type of hernia you have depends on where it forms, and different hernias pose different health risks.
No matter what type of hernia you have, it won’t heal on its own. Severe hernias often need reparative surgery, but smaller hernias may be managed with non-surgical treatments.
If you have a hernia, it’s important to get a treatment plan that fits your needs. Simple lifestyle factors, from your diet to your daily activities, could be making your hernia worse, but there’s a lot you can do to preserve your health.
Brian Prebil, DO, Rachel Alt, MD, and our team at Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery offer comprehensive hernia care for people of all ages. Now’s the time to learn how lifestyle choices impact hernias.
How diet affects hiatal hernias
A hiatal hernia is a type of abdominal hernia that occurs when the upper portion of your stomach pushes through the muscles of your diaphragm. It’s a very common type of hernia, particularly in people over age 50.
Hiatal hernias may not have a visible bulge like other types of hernias, but they can still cause bothersome symptoms. The most common symptom of hiatal hernias is severe acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If you have a hiatal hernia or GERD, your diet could be making your symptoms worse. Citrus fruits, full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, and deep-fried foods are difficult to digest and may make acid reflux worse.
To minimize acid reflux, indigestion, and other symptoms, choose foods that don’t increase stomach acid. Choose low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and whole grains.
How diet impacts inguinal hernias
Inguinal hernias are also common, and about 27% of men have one during their lifetime. An inguinal hernia develops when a section of your intestines or abdominal fat pushes through the muscle wall of your lower stomach.
The most obvious sign of a inguinal hernia is a bulge in your groin or scrotum. Since inguinal hernias involve your intestines, it’s no surprise that your dietary habits could impact your hernia symptoms.
If you have an inguinal hernia, eating a high-fiber diet may help prevent constipation and abdominal pain. Fiber is an essential nutrient that regulates your digestive process. High-fiber foods include fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
Stress and hernias
Stress, both emotional and physical, affects your well-being. But when it comes to hernias, it’s physical stress that has the biggest impact. Hernias develop when organs or tissue push through a weak spot in the muscle wall, and your risk of getting a hernia increases with strain.
People who engage in heavy lifting or repetitive activities that put stress on the lower body may be at increased risk for hernias. If you already have a hernia, stress can make it grow larger and get worse.
Remember that no hernia disappears on its own. Even if you prevent the hernia from getting worse by making healthy lifestyle changes, hernia surgery is the only way to repair it for good.
To find out more about managing your hernia and its symptoms, schedule a consultation with our team. Call our Peoria, Arizona, office at 623-227-2581 or book online today.