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Epigastric Hernia: What Is It And Is It Dangerous?

If you experience a dull ache in the area between your belly button and lower rib, you might blame it on gas or a stomach ache. But if you also notice a small lump or bulge showing through your skin, you may have a problem called epigastric hernia. This type of hernia normally affects children but can show up in adults as well. Learning more about epigastric hernia and how it develops can help you find the right treatment for it. 

How Does Epigastric Hernia Develop?

An epigastric hernia develops when small amounts of intestinal fat push through or protrude the membrane (peritoneum) of your abdominal wall. A number of things cause hernias of the abdomen, including straining during bowel movements, lifting heavy objects, or being overweight. Hernias can occur during pregnancy as the abdominal wall stretches to accommodate the growth and development of a fetus. 

Although most epigastric hernias are small and don't cause pain, some people can experience mild to severe discomfort. The pain typically occurs when the herniated tissue becomes trapped and pinched in the abdominal wall. The protruding fat creates a visible bulge or bump through your skin. 

Epigastric hernias don't go away without treatment. Because of this detail, it's important that you take steps to treat your hernia.

How Do You Treat an Epigastric Hernia?

Epigastric hernias generally require surgery to repair the damage in the abdominal wall with sutures. Some doctors cover the hernial opening with a sealing material called mesh. Mesh repair can be used after the removal of herniated tissue or alone. 

After surgery, a physician will instruct you to rest during your recovery. You want to avoid straining the surgical site as much as possible. You can ask your loved ones to assist you with your daily chores to improve your recovery results. 

In addition, if you're obese, take steps to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. You can do so by eating healthier foods and staying hydrated. However, avoid engaging in an exercise plan until you speak to a doctor. Exercises like weight training may be too strenuous for you right now. Your surgery site needs to heal first. 

If your pain reoccurs, consult with a doctor right away. Although it doesn't happen to every surgery patient, some people may experience inflammation in the site. If this occurs, a doctor will typically prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms. 

For more information about epigastric hernias, contact a center such as Natural Tissue Hernia Repair Associates.