Umbilical Hernia

I go to visit a surgeon tomorrow regarding my umbilical hernia. Greg has been prompting me to make a doctor’s appointment for a few weeks now, since he was getting tired of me bellyaching about the hernia but not doing anything about it. I think he was also getting sick of me asking him to feel it when it visibly sticks out.

I first noticed the hernia after Adrianna was born. I am pretty sure it is just one more fun after-effect from labor and childbirth. When I pointed out the then-small bump to my doctor at my 6-week checkup, he wasn’t concerned because it wasn’t giving me any problems or hurting at that time.

Several months later it started swelling and giving me pain, especially in the evenings on days where I was a little more active then usual or had eaten a large (read: yummy!) meal. From there, it has just been getting worse and larger so that sometimes it makes me feel sick to my stomach too. This isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it is annoying nonetheless. So I finally made the trip to the doctor today and he told me it is only going to continue to get worse and bigger. He likened it to blowing up a balloon. The first time you try to blow into it, it is hard to do. But each time you try to blow into it you can blow it up quicker, larger, and it becomes much easier to do.

The doctor also said that intestines can stick out through the hole. It is also dangerous if they were to get stuck and couldn’t be pushed back in. He said the bowels can also get pinched in there. Gross!

As far as standard treatment, Webmd.com states:

…the standard treatment is conventional hernia-repair surgery (called herniorrhaphy). It is possible to simply live with a hernia and monitor it. The main risk of this approach is that the protruding organ may become strangulated (have its blood supply cut off), and infection and tissue death may occur as a result. A strangulated intestinal hernia may result in intestinal obstruction, causing the abdomen to swell. The strangulation can also lead to infection, gangrene, intestinal perforation, shock, or even death.

The website then goes on to say:

…Hernia surgery is performed under either local or general anesthesia. The surgeon repositions the herniated tissue and, if strangulation has occurred, removes the oxygen-starved part of the organ. The damaged muscle wall will then be repaired. Increasingly, herniorrhaphy is being performed using a laparoscope, a thin, telescope-like instrument that requires smaller incisions and involves a shorter recovery period.

Patients often walk around the day after hernia surgery. There are usually no dietary restrictions, and work and regular activity may usually be resumed in approximately one or two weeks. Complete recovery takes three to four weeks, with no heavy lifting for at least three months. Hernias often return after surgery, so preventive measures are especially important to avoid a recurrence.

Hmm. Hopefully the “heavy lifting” won’t include active babies, since Adrianna is probably close to 22 pounds right now. I guess I will know more after tomorrow’s appointment.

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