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Hernia (cont.)

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Can strengthening the muscles make an abdominal hernia go away?

Unfortunately, exercising to improve a hernia is likely to aggravate the condition. The hernia exists because of a localized absence of muscle and supporting structure. Exercise can strengthen the surrounding muscles, thereby worsening the localized weakness and increasing the pressures inside the abdomen. The result is that more tissue can be forced through the defect and enlarge the hernia.

What can be done to prevent an abdominal hernia?

Most of the factors that lead to the development of hernias are beyond the control of the individual. Some of those factors are inherited and develop as the individual grows. The arrangement of the local tissues and their thickness and strength may greatly affect the relative risk of developing a hernia over a lifetime. However, that risk can be increased by failure to use good body mechanics when lifting, poor abdominal support posture, smoking and weight-control problems.

Are abdominal hernias inherited?

Since genetics dictate inherited features and structure, there is a significant risk of inheriting the anatomical features that may predispose to a hernia. There may also be inherited factors that result in tissue weakness, which ultimately allows the deterioration of the supporting structures and leads to the formation of a hernia. However, this does not necessarily imply that the offspring of an individual with a hernia will ultimately develop the problem. However, some infants are born with congenital defects that lead to hernia development.

Do abdominal hernias usually develop on both sides of the body?

Groin hernias are somewhat more likely to develop on both sides. This is probably because the structural elements develop symmetrically, and the stresses on the body that occur over time are similar on both sides. When a patient becomes aware of a groin swelling on one side, examination by a doctor will often identify a small hernia on the opposite side.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2016

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