What are the Complications of Untreated Hernia?

complications of untreated hernia

The treatment for a hernia typically involves surgical intervention, although there are cases where watchful waiting and lifestyle modifications may be recommended. The specific approach depends on the type of hernia, its size, symptoms, and the overall health of the individual. Here are common treatments for hernias:

  • Lifestyle modifications:

For individuals with certain types of hernias, lifestyle changes may help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. These changes can include weight loss, dietary adjustments to avoid constipation and straining during bowel movements, and avoiding heavy lifting.

  • Medications:

Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be recommended to manage symptoms associated with hernias, such as heartburn or acid reflux. These medications may include antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors.

  • Laparoscopic hernia repair:

Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery is a common method for repairing certain types of hernias. This involves making small incisions and using a thin tube with a camera (laparoscope) to guide the surgeon in repairing the hernia with mesh.

  • Open hernia repair (Herniorrhaphy or Hernioplasty):

Traditional open surgery involves making a larger incision near the hernia site to manually push the protruding tissue back into place and reinforce the weakened area with stitches or mesh.

What are the complications of Untreated Hernia?

If a hernia is left untreated, it can lead to various complications, some of which can be serious and require emergency medical attention. Here are potential complications of untreated hernias:

  • Incarceration:

This occurs when a portion of the herniated tissue becomes trapped in the hernia sac and cannot be easily pushed back into the abdominal cavity. Incarceration may lead to pain, swelling, and an inability to reduce the hernia manually.

  • Strangulation:

Strangulation is a severe complication that happens when the blood supply to the trapped hernia contents is cut off. This can lead to tissue ischemia (lack of blood flow), which is a medical emergency.

  • Obstruction:

Hernias, especially in the abdominal wall, can sometimes cause bowel obstruction if a loop of the intestine becomes trapped. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and vomiting.

  • Perforation:

In rare cases, if a hernia causes severe complications such as strangulation or obstruction, it may lead to perforation of the intestine, allowing its contents to leak into the abdominal cavity.

  • Hydrocele:

In some cases of untreated inguinal hernias, fluid can accumulate in the scrotum, causing swelling. This is known as a hydrocele.

  • Chronic pain:

Untreated hernias may cause chronic discomfort or pain, especially during physical activities or when lifting heavy objects.

It's essential to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a hernia or if you experience symptoms such as a bulge, pain, or discomfort in the affected area. Early intervention can help prevent complications and allow for less invasive treatment options.

Recovery After a Hernia Treatment:

Recovery after hernia treatment depends on the type of surgery performed, the size and location of the hernia, and individual factors. Always follow your healthcare provider's specific instructions for recovery, as individual cases can vary.

You can read our blog on Recovery and Down time after hernia surgery to know more in-depth information on the topic.

If you have any concerns or experience unexpected symptoms during the recovery process, don't hesitate to contact healthcare providers from Chennai laser gastro clinic for their best guidance and consultation.

Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran