Hernia after hysterectomy is a relatively uncommon side effect of an abdominal hysterectomy. Also known as an incisional hernia it occurs because the abdominal cut weakens the muscles in the surrounding area. This creates a tender and painful bulge in the muscles surrounding the area.
What causes hernia after hysterectomy?
They are more likely to occur in those patients who are overweight or who have a history of repeated abdominal surgery, such as laparascopic investigations. Other causes of a incisional hernia after hysterectomy can be lifting things that are too heavy during the recovery period. This is because the abdominal scar is at it’s weakest when it is still healing. Therefore most occur within three to six months of the surgery taking place; this is another good reason why women need to avoid doing too much too soon after surgery.
How do I know if I have a hernia after hysterectomy?
Sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose an incisional hernia, this is because it can appear to come and go, often only being noticeable when sneezing, straining when on the toilet or lifting things that are too heavy, in fact anything that increases pressure in the abdomen can potentially cause this problem.
What treatment is there for a hernia after hysterectomy?
Normally there are two options for treatment. The first is to wear a support garment of some description such as a truss which applies consistent pressure to the hernia. This is normally only available when the hernia is causing little discomfort.
The second option is surgery and this involves the hernia being replaced back in its correct position in the abdominal cavity before the muscle is repaired either with stitches (if it is small) or with a mesh graft.
(Image courtesy of Stephen Oleksiak (wikipedia).
What self help is available to prevent a hernia after hysterectomy?
Perhaps the most important part of self help is to avoid lifting anything that is too heavy during the first few months after a hysterectomy. However, the concept of ‘heavy’ will vary from woman to woman and will depend on initial levels of fitness before surgery. In many cases a cautious approach is probably advisable, for instance only adding enough water for one cup of tea to a kettle. Remember, if it pulls or is painful then that’s the time to stop whatever it is you’re doing.
Secondly, you can improve your posture and protect your stomach by wearing the right sort of undies. Support panties or abdominal support bands are perfect for helping you do this and you can find those in our online shop if you’re interested.
You can find out more information about incisional hernia by clicking here.