How to Relieve Hernia Pain
If it feels like your stomach is being ripped apart from the inside, there is a high chance that you have a hernia. There is no denying that the pain caused by a hernia can be very intense but to understand how to relieve the intensity of this pain, it is important to understand what is a hernia and what causes a hernia.
What’s a Hernia
There is a strong wall of muscles surrounding our organs, keeping them securely in place. If a gap appears in this wall, part of an organ can squeeze through causing a hernia. This appears in the form of a lump or bulge under the skin.
When this section of the organ pushes on a weak area in the abdominal wall, it rips apart the tissues causing intense pain.
The pain of a hernia increases in intensity every time the organ tissue pushes through the hole and it wanes every time it goes back in its place. If this in and out movement pinches nerves along its path, pain can also be felt in other parts of the body and not just the site of the hernia.
A hernia forms a lump under the skin. If this lump is purple or dark in color, it could be strangulated. If this happens, you should immediately rush to emergency care.
In severe cases when the opening in the muscle wall, through which organ tissue squeezed in, closes, organ strangulation might occur. In other words, organ strangulation occurs when the organ gets trapped in a hole in the muscle wall. This restricts blood flow to the section of the organ and it can slowly die. This dying bit of the organ releases bacteria into the bloodstream increasing the chances of Sepsis. Sepsis is life-threatening and should never be taken lightly.
Not all trapped hernia is strangulated. If a section of the organ gets caught in the weakened muscle wall but the supply of blood to the organ is not cut off, it is not life-threatening.
If you press the bulge and the section of the organ does not return into the abdominal cavity, it is an incarcerated hernia. An incarcerated hernia can also turn into a strangulated hernia. If your hernia feels incarcerated, go to the emergency room without delay to avoid the risk of the hernia becoming strangulated.
Types of Hernia
Hernia can be found in a few places around the body such as the abdomen, belly button, inner thigh, and groin, but abdominal hernia is the most common one.
There are 2 types of groin hernias. The hernia seen more commonly in the groin is the Inguinal hernia and the other one is Femoral hernia.
These hernias are formed when a section of the intestine pushes into a weak area of the lower belly. These hernias are experienced more commonly by men.
As the name suggests, this type of hernia forms when a section of the intestine squeezes in through a gap in the muscle, close to the belly button. This is also a very common form of hernia.
Incisional hernia forms in those patients who have had a surgical incision on the belly. If the wound heals slowly, there are chances of tissue finding a gap and squeezing into it causing an Incisional hernia.
Hiatal hernias are the most deceiving hernia of the lot. They often go undetected because there is no lump or major pain caused by this form of hernia. It is formed when the stomach pushes up through the muscle known as the diaphragm.
A diaphragm is a sheet of muscle below your chest. It has an opening through which the length of your esophagus runs. When the stomach pushes up through this hole, it creates no lump but causes gastric issues such as acid reflux, belching and bloating. Many people confuse these hernias as GERD.
What Causes Hernia?
At first glance, it does seem like it would require an extraordinary amount of physical stress or a great trauma, to cause an organ to jut out through the muscle wall and form a hernia. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Simple habits and actions can cause a hernia as well.
A hernia forms because of increased pressure on a weak muscle wall. This pressure can be caused by any of the following activities:
- Chronic or prolonged coughing
- Incessant sneezing
- Lifting heavy load without proper form
- Chronic Constipation
- Prolonged diarrhea
- Excessive exercising
The weakened muscle can be due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Being overweight
- Due to a diet lacking in nutrition
- History of substance abuse
- Old age
- Birth Defect
How to Relieve hernia pain
If you are trying to find out how to relieve hernia pain, it is important to understand that hernia can only be fixed through surgery and any other measures taken to deal with the pain can only provide temporary relief.
It is of utmost importance that you consult a doctor before trying any of these remedies at home. Only your doctor can decide if your hernia requires surgery or it is safe to let it heal naturally.
If it is a fear of surgery causing you to delay a visit to the doctor, then there is no need to be afraid. A simple surgical procedure can fix the hernia.
It is commonly carried out through laparoscopy or a keyhole surgery where a few incisions are created to fix the hernia by stitching it, eradicating the need for open surgery.
In cases where the gap in the muscle wall is too wide, a mesh would be placed in the opening of the wall to prevent the hernia from recurring.
If you have already consulted your doctor and he has deemed surgery not necessary, you can use these remedies and techniques to manage your pain while allowing the hernia to heal naturally.
If you experience any discomfort or pain while practicing these techniques for relieve hernia pain, please stop immediately. If the pain persists or escalates, consult your doctor straight away.
Remedies for Relieve Hernia Pain
Although the remedies we are going to discuss here are easy to follow and most natural, please do not go overboard and use too many of them at once. It might end up causing more harm by overburdening your digestive system.
Get Gravity to Help
To understand why this remedy works, it is important to keep in mind that a hernia is nothing more than your organ pushing through the muscle wall. By simply lying down, gravity can be used to let the organ go slowly back into its place, relieving pain.
The hernia will indeed return when you stand back up, but this technique works to give you much-needed relief from the pain temporarily.
Whenever you feel pain, try to lie down, and stay completely horizontal until the organ returns into the abdominal cavity and relieves the pain.
If this technique does not work for you, do not feel disheartened. Other remedies can be used to provide immediate albeit temporary relief.
Using a Cold Compress
Applying a cold cloth or an ice pack on the hernia might seem like the last thing you want to do but it can immediately reduce swelling and inflammation, relieving the intensity of pain. You can apply a cold compress to relieve hernia pain 2 to 3 times a day.
You can purchase an ice pack from a medical store or you can place a few ice cubes in a small towel and use the chilled towel to relieve hernia pain. Simply place the cold compress on the hernia for 10 minutes while lying down. As the cold compress shrinks the hernia, it will go back into the abdomen, relieving pain.
Taking an NSAID
You have probably popped a few painkillers by now but failed to gain much relief from it. You would not be here reading this article if the painkillers had worked in providing you relief from hernia pain.
Reaching for a pain killer is a common first course of action when feeling extreme pain. However, when you are looking to relieve hernia pain, taking an NSAID instead of a painkiller will provide you with more relief. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are medicines that reduce inflammation while also relieving pain.
Taking an over-the-counter NSAID such as Ibuprofen will give you stronger pain relief as it works by reducing the swelling in the irritated organ tissue that is causing the hernia pain.
The effectiveness of an NSAID at relieve hernia pain may make it seem like the perfect solution but be wary if you find yourself reaching for it every time the pain returns. Exceeding the recommended dosage of any medicine can be life-threatening as can be the continued use of painkillers for more than 5 days, without the advice of your doctor.
You can always try one of these all-natural pain relief remedies next time pain arises instead of going straight for the medicine.
Drinking Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera is a plant that is popular for its numerous health benefits. Pain relief is one of the lesser-known benefits of Aloe Vera. Pure Aloe Vera juice not only contains anti-inflammatory properties but also has a soothing effect on your digestive system. It is an excellent way to relieve hernia pain.
It might not bring you immediate relief like a cold compress or an NSAID but it can bring lasting results without any side effects. Drinking Aloe Vera juice on an empty stomach daily can also prevent the hernia from recurring once it has healed.
Wear a Hernia Support
Wearing a support belt or truss can help keep the organ tissue from squeezing out by keeping the area taut. There are special supports available for hernia patients that you can purchase. Buying a support belt that is the right fit for your hernia is crucial for successful pain relief.
Always wear the belt while lying down to ensure the organ tissue is in its place while wrapping the belt tightly over the area, not leaving any leeway for the organ tissue to squeeze into.
Castor Seed Oil
Although it may seem unconventional but applying a cotton roll soaked in castor oil on top of the hernia can bring down inflammation in the organ tissue and provide pain relief. You can safely use castor oil soak every day for up to a week.
Dealing With Pain Due to Acid Reflux
Experiencing a lot of gastric issues is a common symptom of a hernia, especially if you are afflicted with a hiatal hernia. Even though it is a common symptom, it is not one to be taken lightly. Untreated acid reflux can cause major damage to the oesophageal lining and if left untreated it can become cancerous.
Ginger is a powerful remedy as it not only reduces stomach acids but it also protects the stomach lining from further damage while reducing inflammation and pain all at the same time.
You can take pure ginger juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or you can add grated ginger to your hot beverages to relieve acidity and reflux.
If you are experiencing extreme acid reflux, you can take an antacid in addition to one of the natural remedies. This will provide quick relief for the pain and pressure caused by a build-up of stomach acids.
Black Pepper Powder
This may seem like an unusual one but hear us out before ruling it out. You will be amazed at the efficacy of black pepper in relieve hernia pain. Black pepper contains a compound known as Piperine which stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Hydrochloric acid aids in better digestion of food, in turn eradicating gastric problems such as flatulence, acidity, diarrhea and constipation.
Not only does black pepper stop the production of gases in the digestive system but it also moves the gases downwards out of the body. If left untreated these gases build upwards, creating more pressure on the hernia and causing a significant increase in pain.
The risk of a recurring hernia is greater for those who have had it before. Fortunately, some simple lifestyle changes can decrease this risk significantly. Making these lifestyle changes will also help you to relieve hernia pain.
These factors work by decreasing the strain on your body and making your muscle wall stronger. Let us look at what factors can increase your risk of a hernia and what action you can take to combat the risk.
Being overweight creates a lot of strain on your body. Simple movements like getting up, climbing stairs, or changing positions while sleeping, tend to put a lot of strain on the muscles.
You are more likely to strain or pull a muscle if you are overweight. Strains like these can take their toll over time and create weak spots in your muscle wall increasing the risk of a hernia.
The effort required to carry out simple tasks increases multi-fold creating an extraordinary amount of pressure on your muscle wall.
These types of strains pull at the hernia, making the gap in the muscle wall wider causing a lot of pain and slowing down the healing process.
For an overweight person, the chances of a hernia healing naturally are low which leaves behind surgery as the only remaining option in relieve hernia pain.
Losing weight can be a perplexing task but by making small changes in your daily habits, you can easily lose a pound or two every week.
Most weight loss efforts fail because they require you to go all out and create drastic changes. The trick behind losing weight effortlessly is to make small changes that will give lasting results.
Your eating habits play a huge role in how you feel after a meal. By making some simple dietary changes along with improving your eating habits, you can relieve hernia pain and speed up your healing process simultaneously.
Take Smaller Bites
Take small bites and spend time chewing each bite slowly. Chewing on smaller bites creates less strain on your stomach. Chewing slowly also relieve hernia pain by giving your digestive system ample time to digest the tiny amounts of food in each bite, reducing acid reflux as a result.
If you have built up a habit of eating fast, creating these changes will take effort but incredible results will follow soon if you are diligent.
Maintain Good Posture
Sitting up straight during a meal and for an hour after your meals is crucial for healthy digestion. When we slouch, we reduce the room for our digestive system to carry out its tasks efficiently, which in turn causes acid reflux.
Late Night Indulges
Eating late at night may be a guilty pleasure for a lot of people but for a hernia patient, this habit can be extremely detrimental. The undigested food creates a lot of strain on your stomach when you sleep.
Avoid eating at least 3 hours before bedtime. If this seems like a mammoth task to you, try to increase this time interval gradually. For the first week, stop eating 30 minutes before your bedtime. When this becomes easy, push the time interval back by 15-minute increments every week.
The key to a lasting change is starting small as well as keeping each progression equally small, giving yourself time to adjust to these changes.
Avoid Foods that Trigger Acidity
We can appreciate that this may read like a death sentence to some people, especially if you crave spicy and tart foods. Food is an immense source of pleasure for most of us and avoiding your favorite foods can make them seem even more appealing.
Knowing all that, if you want to feel any relief from hernia pain, keeping away from foods that cause acid reflux is necessary. This includes fried foods, spicy foods, sour foods, and caffeine. These foods can slow down the healing process by creating more inflammation in the digestive system.
Bid Farewell to Stress
If the mere thought of not stressing out is causing you more stress-we are with you on this. Stress comes hand in hand with most situations and keeping stress away may seem like an impossible task to many.
The problem with stress, apart from its crippling nature, is that it causes a direct hormonal reaction in the body wreaking havoc within your system. It slows down the recovery processes within the body while also slowing down digestion, increasing acid reflux as a direct consequence.
Finding safe ways of dealing with stress is crucial if you want to live a healthy, hernia-free life. Going for a walk, practicing breathing exercises, yoga and meditation are safe ways of relieving stress and putting your body back in healing mode.
The right kind of exercise can do wonders for relieve hernia pain. Unfortunately, the wrong kind of exercise can also send you rushing to a hospital emergency room. Avoid any form of exercise that can add strain to your muscles.
Refrain from lifting heavy weights and avoid stomach exercises until your hernia has healed completely. Engage in mild exercises that will strengthen your muscles and prevent a hernia from recurring. These exercises include walking, yoga, and exercises in the swimming pool.
Wear Loose Clothing
Any clothing that constricts your abdomen can decrease the room for your digestive system to expand creating strain and causing acid reflux. Choose loose clothing options until your hernia is healed.
Increase Fiber Intake
If you suffer from irregular bowel movements, it might be aggravating your hernia and causing a delay in the healing process. Constipation causes an incredible strain on your muscles.
Finding a solution, although crucial, is remarkably simple. By adding more vegetables to your diet and increasing your water intake, you can get a Fiber boost. Fiber helps in softening and bulking up your stool, allowing it to pass easily. Alternatively, you can take a Fiber supplement such as Psyllium husk which works as well.
Refrain from Smoking
Smoking has a direct impact on aggravating hernia pain. Smoking slows down the healing of wounds as it impacts the production of collagen. These factors can make healing a hernia naturally, exceedingly difficult. This is why smokers often require surgery for treating a hernia. Nicotine in cigarettes weakens the abdominal muscle increasing the risk of a recurring hernia.
How to Relieve Hernia Pain
At first glance, it may seem like a lot of effort is required to manage a common condition like a hernia. However, the advice provided above will not only help you understand how to relieve hernia pain but will also help you in preventing its recurrence.
To live a long, healthy, and mostly pain-free life, it is essential to build strong healthy habits. These habits will also improve the quality of your life overall.