Epigastric Hernia
Health

Epigastric Hernia

Our body is made up of three layers the epidermis which is the outermost layer, the dermis which is situated in the middle and the subcutaneous which is fat tissue layer situated deep. All these layers as a whole make the human body’s outer covering. 

A hernia is a disease which leads to discomfort. A hernia is the formation of a bulge in the body which is due to fat layers pushing through the body’s epidermal layer. This has a swollen and painful lump like appearance. The hernia has different types. One of the most common types of hernia is epigastric hernia which occurs in both children and adults. The data suggest 2-3% of cases of hernia each year. 

Some common types of hernia are :

  • Umbilical hernia: These are one of the common types of hernia which are seen in new-born. It may appear immediately or 6 months after. The appearance is bulgy. There are bulging out of intestines or lump in groin or stomach. The
  • Groin hernia: It is the most common type of hernia. It can be inguinal which implies pushing out of intestines from an area known as an inguinal canal hernia or femoral which are rare conditions and there’s a bulge in the femoral canal.

About Epigastric hernia

An epigastric hernia is typically the hernia of epigastric region. This region lies in the middle of sternum and navel. The bulge can be of varying size. It can be large or small depending on the amount of fat pressing upon the epidermal layer. It needs to be treated because it hurts and is painful. It is generally from birth. It is considered to be due to improper development of the body layers during the growth in the mother’s womb. 

A hernia develops through the weak spots of the body. It’s like pushing out of the thin layering or cracks. Symptoms of hernia are not specifically visible except the bulge and sometimes pain. 

Symptoms 

The most common and clearly visible symptom is a bulge which appears below the rib cage and above the navel. This is the epigastric zone. The bulge is swollen, soft and sometimes painful. 

In certain cases, the bulge may not be painful in general but it may hurt while coughing, laughing loudly or putting pressure on it. 

There are rarely any other distinct symptoms in case of an epigastric hernia. 

Causes

The causes of hernia are not fully understood and research is still going in to find out the exact reasons behind it but the widely accepted opinion of doctors is weak muscles lead to this bulging. The body’s fat layers start’s protruding outwards from the weak spots of the body leading to the formation of hernia.  It is not always identified clearly because there are fewer cases of hernia which are reported annually.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of hernia is usually easy as it can be seen by naked eyes but there might be confusion of hernia with other diseases. To confirm hernia certain medical tests must be performed. The most popularized tests are CT scan which involves the scanning of the part which is assumed to be suffering from aa a hernia. This allows knowing the insights of the bulge. Another important technique which is commonly used is ultrasound. Ultrasound although is not a common approach as it is not effective enough for areas like stomach and intestines. 

Emergency situation

Hernia although is not a serious emergency situation and can linger on for years without any issues. In rare cases when there may be low blood levels or low blood supply in the region of hernia it may become a reason for tissue damage. This is a serious condition and must be treated as soon as possible. This type of emergency hernia is called a strangulated hernia. It is severely painful and sometimes inflamed. 

Treatment 

Epigastric hernia can’t heal themselves. There is a need for surgery for treatment. The surgery has a drawback. Surgery leads to increased symptoms although the complications that may arise in the future are decreased considerably. 

Before preparing a patient for surgery certain tests are performed like blood tests, biopsies, X-RAY, etc. On the basis of the test results, the surgery is finalized. To avoid any sort of risk factors or complications it is suggested to avoid drinking and smoking for a few months completely. 

Surgery is performed under local anesthesia. Mostly the procedure followed is laparotomy which involves small cuts in the stomach like holes.  It is an easy procedure which leaves fewer marks after the surgery. The experts use local anesthesia to remove the part suffering from a hernia. The part is removed and the weak portion of skin is treated depending upon the size of the hernia. In the case of small hernia, the weak spots are stitched together. In the case of larger spots, however, there is a need for surgical implants. The commonly used surgical implant is nylon mesh. Nylon mesh covers to the weak spot to prevent the hernia push back through it. This procedure can’t be done on patients who have a history of rejecting body implants. There may be complications and the body’s immune response acting against the nylon mesh in case of these individuals.

During the surgical procedure, a laparoscopic device is used to view the inner parts through the laparotomy holes. The stitches are made by special dissolvable substances. Usually, there are no complications and the stitches dissolve themselves without the need of a medical professional again. 

After the surgery complete rest is needed for a few days. Doctor’s prescribe certain medications for pain and antibiotics to prevent infections of the wound spot. Dressing of the surgical area is done. It is recommended to avoid heavy lifting or any other activity that puta pressure of epigastric area. 

It is very important to take the proper amount of fluids and fiber content in the diet because post-operation constipation problems are very commonly observed. The patients may still have a bulge even after the surgery. It is due to the addition of suture in the body during the operation by the professionals to cover the weak spots. The normal recovery time after surgery is 2-4 weeks. Sexual activities can be resumed after this period. 

Complications

Complications must not be avoided. Any sort of complication needs immediate medical attention. Some of the frequently seen complications include:

  • Consistent bleeding: This can be life-threatening. Bleeding must not be persistent. It must stop after the complete procedure. Bleeding is a sign that some tissues are spots are still left open. If bleeding continues without any attention it will lead to anemia, weakness, lethargy and in severe cases death.
  • Fever: Fever can be there for a day or two but if it stays for longer duration it may need an expert’s attention. Fever occurs due to the body’s fight mechanism against foreign agents. It may be due to the implant that body is not accepting or it can be due to the body’s response against stitches. 
  • Discharge from the wound: Discharge from the wound is combined with pain and redness severely. It may be due to different reasons. If you put excessive pressure on the wound or due to exercise. This needs to be checked before infection or pus starts expanding.

Every disease has a procedure and a set of precautions that are needed to be followed. Medical help is important and must not be denied. 

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