Are Hernias Hernias Heriditary?
Hernias develop when tissue in a certain part of your body, such as your groin or intestine, pushes through muscle. Although this condition isn’t always serious, it can put you at risk of complications, such as intestinal obstruction or enlargement that causes pain and other symptoms. If you have family members who have had hernias, do you face a higher risk of having one?
Hernia Risk Factors
Hernias have been shown to occur more often in those who have a family history of this condition, although the underlying reason for this isn’t fully understood. If you have a parent who has had hernias, your risk of getting one is higher. Your risk of developing a hernia at some point in your life is also higher if you have a congenital defect that makes muscles in the affected area weaker. Keep in mind that there are other factors that could also increase your risk of having a hernia. These include:
- Gender, since hernias occur more often in men;
- Old age as your muscles grow weaker;
- Previous hernias;
- A chronic cough can develop into an inguinal hernia:
- History of chronic constipation that puts more pressure on your bowels.
Signs of a Hernia
If you have a family history of hernias or other risk factors for this condition, it’s important to recognize the signs. You might experience any of the following symptoms if you develop a hernia:
- Swelling or bulging in the affected area
- Mild soreness or tenderness
- Pain or soreness when moving certain ways, such as leaning over
- A feeling of heaviness in the affected area
If you suspect that you have a hernia, you should seek medical attention. This helps determine if you do have a hernia and whether or not you need treatment for it. Although hernias don’t always cause symptoms or discomfort, they can lead to life-threatening complications, such as a strangulated hernia, which requires emergency care.
Although you can’t do much about congenital defects or hereditary factors that increase your risk of hernias, there are steps you can take to lower it. These include the following:
- Lose excess weight: Staying at a healthy weight reduces strain on your muscles and tissue.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber: Including plenty of these foods, such as vegetables, in your diet helps keep your digestive system regular and lowers your risk of constipation.
- Give up smoking: Smoking on a regular basis can cause you to develop a chronic cough, which raises your risk of having a hernia.
- Lift with care: Avoid picking up heavy objects, or lift with your knees rather than your back. This places less strain on your abdominal area.
If you have signs or symptoms of a hernia, please contact Dr. Mark Reiner to schedule an appointment. Dr. Reiner is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in minimally invasive surgery and is one of the leaders in the field of minimally invasive hernia repair. Fill out the form on this page to request an appointment or call 212.879.6677 to learn more.