Hernias and constipation are both common health concerns, and neither are serious in their early stages. However, both conditions can progress — and both can lead to pain, discomfort, and complications as they advance.
A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot or tear in the overlying muscle and connective tissue that forms your abdominal wall. Although there are different types of hernias, inguinal hernias in the groin area are the most common.
Constipation is a gastrointestinal issue where people have infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, or hard, dry stools. Constipation is a significant risk factor for hernia development.
At Michael Sutker, MD, in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, board-certified general surgeon Dr. Sutker provides a full scope of hernia services, from comprehensive diagnosis and treatment using advanced hernia repair techniques to post-repair recurrence prevention strategies.
Here, Dr. Sutker explains how constipation can increase your risk of developing a hernia.
There are several types of hernias. The two that are linked to constipation are inguinal hernias and umbilical hernias:
This common hernia type primarily affects men. It occurs when a portion of the intestine or abdominal tissue pushes through a weakened area in the lower abdominal wall near the groin. About 75% of all hernias are inguinal hernias, and men get about 70% of them. Almost a quarter of all men will develop one in their lifetime.
Symptoms of this type of hernia may include a noticeable bulge in the groin area or scrotum along with pain or a burning sensation. It’s frequently caused by straining or pressure from heavy lifting, a chronic cough, or constipation. In some cases, this type of hernia is present at birth.
An umbilical hernia happens when a section of your small intestine or fatty tissue pushes through the abdominal wall near your navel. These types of hernias are more common in children, but can affect people of all ages.
Multiple pregnancies or obesity can weaken your abdominal muscles, which increases your risk of an umbilical hernia. Also, coughing and straining because of constipation can lead to this type of hernia.
Constipation and hernias
Constipation is a condition that leads to hard, dry, and lumpy stools that are difficult to pass. In order to do so, you must strenuously push and strain, often for an extended period. This repeated and forceful straining can put immense pressure on the muscles and connective tissues in the abdomen and pelvic region.
Over time, this internal pressure can weaken your abdominal wall, creating an environment where hernias are more likely to occur. Tips to prevent constipation include:
- Eating more high-fiber foods
- Drinking plenty of water
- Keeping yourself physically active
If you suspect you have a hernia, call or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Sutker today. We have two offices in Dallas and McKinney, Texas.