Millions of people are living with a hernia right now. While not an ideal situation, most hernias are uncomfortable or painful, but not an immediate risk to your health. However, there are hernias that can pose a serious risk to your health and even be life threatening, usually a strangulated hernia. Also, a hernia that you have had for years can suddenly become dangerous. It is vital to know the signs of a life-threating strangulated hernia and what to do if you have these symptoms.
What Is a Strangulated Hernia?
A strangulated hernia is not a type of hernia but a complication that can occur with any hernia. An inguinal, femoral or umbilical hernia can become strangulated. When strangulation occurs, the blood supply to the herniated tissue is cut off. This can lead to gangrene and tissue death, and in severe cases, the patient could be at risk of death in only a few hours. Strangulated hernias require immediate medical care and surgery to restore blood flow and stop the toxicity that occurs from this condition. Symptoms include:
- A noticeable bulge on the abdomen or pelvic area
- Sudden, intense pain at the hernia bulge
- Swelling and skin-color changes near the bulge
- Fever, nausea and vomiting
- Bloody stools or constipation
- Rapid heart rate
The combination of any of these symptoms with a visible, painful hernia bulge is reason to seek immediate medical care.
What Causes a Strangulated Hernia?
In many cases, a strangulated hernia starts as an incarcerated hernia. This means the tissue pushing through the intestinal wall becomes trapped, unable to retreat back into the abdominal cavity, but blood flow is not restricted. If the muscles clamp down on the incarcerated hernia, blood flow can suddenly be stopped, and it is now a life-threatening situation. Due to this concern, any incarcerated hernia should be treated and repaired to avoid possible strangulation.
If you suspect an incarcerated hernia, or you have any hernia that needs repair, Core Surgical is your source for top hernia specialists in the New York tri-state area. Call our office in Manhattan or New Jersey to schedule a consultation for hernia treatment to avoid life-threatening complications.