A hernia, a common medical condition, occurs when an organ, tissue, or fat pushes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Inguinal hernias, the most frequent type, develop when a part of the intestine protrudes through a weakened groin muscle. Although muscle weakness cannot be prevented, reducing abdominal pressure can help prevent inguinal hernias. This blog outlines 10 ways men can prevent hernias.
10 Tips to Prevent Hernia in Men
Lift properly and avoid heavy weights
Lifting heavy weights improperly can strain abdominal muscles, leading to hernias. Use your knees to distribute weight evenly when lifting and avoid lifting objects too heavy to handle safely.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight increases inguinal hernia risk by placing pressure on abdominal muscles. Maintain a healthy body weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise, focusing on low-risk activities like light weightlifting, yoga, cycling, and pilates.
Strengthen core muscles
Strong core muscles help prevent inguinal hernias. Regularly perform core-strengthening exercises, such as planks, and consult a medical professional for personalized recommendations.
People with diabetes face higher risks for complications from ventral and umbilical hernia repair surgery. Follow your doctor's advice to manage diabetes, including consuming low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-salt foods and substituting processed foods with whole grains.
Smoking weakens abdominal muscles and increases chronic coughing, leading to inguinal hernia risk. Quitting smoking can improve overall health and help prevent hernias.
Stay physically active
Regular physical activity strengthens abdominal muscles and reduces pressure on them. Avoid high-exertion exercises like jumping, squats, and fast movements that can lead to muscle tears and increased hernia risk.
Eat high-fiber foods
Constipation strains the abdomen and raises hernia risk. Consume high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables to promote regular bowel movements and stay hydrated.
Take constipation prevention measures
Fiber supplements or bulk-forming laxatives containing psyllium can maintain regularity and avoid straining during bowel movements. Alternative laxatives, like mineral oil or milk of magnesia, may be recommended if needed. Stay hydrated to prevent constipation, especially after surgery.
Treat coughing or sneezing
Chronic coughing or sneezing increases the inguinal hernia risk due to added pressure on abdominal muscles. Seek medical advice for persistent coughing or sneezing caused by allergies or infections, and avoid smoking to minimize risk.
Check for an enlarged prostate
Older men may experience enlarged prostate symptoms, like frequent and urgent urination, which can strain the abdomen. To reduce hernia risk, avoid straining during bowel movements or urination.
Untreated hernias can lead to strangulation, causing tissue infection or death and severe medical complications. Seek out an experienced laparoscopic surgeon if you notice hernia-induced symptoms like sudden abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and swelling in the affected area. Early detection and treatment are crucial, as hernias do not resolve on their own.