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A hernia is a weakness or defect in the lining of the abdominal (belly) or pelvic (groin) wall. It can be present at birth or develop over the years.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may see or feel a lump under the skin or in males a bulge in the scrotum (this is usually intestine). This may present with straining while lifting heavy objects, during a bowel movement or urination. Coughing and sneezing may also produce a bulge. The lump may disappear when laying down or even with gentle pressure. A hernia can be present without an obvious lump. It can be painful or cause a burning sensation. Sometimes it may be present for years without any symptoms.
What should you do if you suspect that you have a hernia? There is no acceptable nonsurgical medical treatment for a hernia. The use of a truss (hernia belt) can help keep the hernia from bulging but eventually will fail. The truss also causes the formation of scar tissue around the hernia making the repair more difficult. Have your doctor perform an examination, because if the repair is delayed it can result in incarceration (intestine is stuck and cannot get back inside) or strangulation (intestine is stuck and develops gangrene). The latter is an emergency.
The hernia will not go away, it will only get bigger. The bigger the defect the bigger the operation required to fix it.
Under certain circumstances the hernia may be watched and followed closely by a physician. These situations are unique to those individuals who are high operative risks, ie, severe heart or lung disease, or bleeding problems. Of course, even in the high risk person, if the symptoms become severe or if strangulation occurs, then an operation must be performed.
What type of operation is best for you? There are two main options for hernia repair:
1) Open Repair: The traditional, open repair has been the gold standard for over 100 years. There are 5-10 different approaches and can be performed routinely with local and intravenous sedation. Open repair is generally painful with a relatively long recovery period.
2) Laparoscopic Repair: Laparoscopic repair has been developed over the last 10 years. It is usually performed under general anesthesia but spinal anesthesia is an option. Local anesthesia can be used under special circumstances. Benefits of Laparoscopic (laparoscopic) repair compared to the open repair are: shorter operative time, less pain, and shorter recovery period.
Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery:
For Laparoscopic hernia surgery a telescope attached to a camera is placed through a small opening under the belly button. Two other small cuts are made (each no larger than the diameter of an eraser on the end of a pencil) in the lower abdomen. The defect is covered with a mesh (synthetic material made from the same material that stitches are made from) and secured in position with other stitches/staples/titanium tacks or tissue glue.
Risks to Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery:
As with the open operation, bleeding and infection can occur. The risk of nerve injury appears to be less than in open repair, as does the potential for recurrences of a hernia.
After the Operation:
Usually you can be discharged home a few hours after the completion of the Laparoscopic hernia operation. Take it easy the first few days. Walking stairs is allowed, and walking outside (weather permitting) is encouraged. Taking a bath or shower 48 hours after the operation is permitted. Avoid driving for at least 3 days and any time while taking pain medication.
Remember to make a follow-up appointment with your surgeon 1-2 weeks following the operation. Seek medical attention sooner if you develop fever, bleeding, severe belly pain, excessive swelling or nausea and vomiting.
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Arthritis is defined as a disease that causes painful inflammation and stiffness in joints. There are some food items, which you should avoid if you are suffering from arthritis since they can worsen your condition and lead to inflammation and joint pain. Stick to a smart, nutritious diet that doesn't make you gain weight.
The following food items should be struck off your daily meals:
- Red Meat: Red meat has high levels of saturated fat. Patients of arthritis must avoid consuming foods containing saturated fat because they contribute to obesity. They also contain Omega-6 fatty acids, which lead to inflammation if the intake is high. Red meat contributes to higher overall fat and calorie intake.
- Sugar and Refined Flour: Sugar and refined flour may cause an upsurge in blood sugar levels. When there is a spike in your blood sugar levels, the body produces a pro-inflammatory chemical called cytokines to break down the carbohydrates. This results in inflammation, worsening your arthritis symptoms. They also increase your weight, putting more and more pressure on the joints.
- Fried Foods: Eliminating fried foods from your diet helps in reducing the levels of inflammation. Fried foods increase oxidation in the body's cells due to toxins called advanced glycation endproducts or age. They are high in fat and lead to obesity. Moreover, most restaurants use hydrogenated oils which are rich in trans fats. Trans fats are even more harmful than saturated fats when it comes to inflammation, chronic heart diseases and other health problems.
- Alcohol and tobacco: High intake of alcohol causes a surge in the body levels of CRP or C - reactive protein which is a powerful agent of inflammation. The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis is higher among smokers.
- Processed Foods: Foods that are ready to eat and require minimal cooking contain several ingredients that cause inflammation. They are loaded with saturated fats, refined flour and sugar and are extremely unhealthy and worsen arthritic pain.
- Corn Oil: Many foods, especially baked foods, are cooked in corn oil or other oils which are rich in omega 6 fatty acids and trigger inflammation. Corn oil can be replaced with olive oil that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is anti-inflammatory. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.