Risk Factors for Hernia

The Risk Factors for Hernia Development

There are certain conditions that are known to contribute to the development of hernias. These include:

Sex, Obesity, Tobacco use, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Coughing, Prior surgery, Genetic issues, Aging, Sport or traumatic injury, Family history, Premature birth, Previous hernia (People who have a hernia on one side may develop a hernia on the other side of the abdomen., Chronic Constipation or other Excessive, Straining during urination, Inherited Connective Tissue Disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan`s Syndrome, Pregnancy, Heavy Lifting, Fluid in the abdominal cavity (such as ascites in patient with liver disease)

Most Certain Conditions to the Development Hernias.

  1. Genetic : Hernias can run in families. There are genetic abnormalities of collagen fibers in your muscles and fascia (the thick lining of muscle) which could increase the risk of hernia formation. Some studies have shown that some patients with hernias are more likely to have a mismatch of collagen, with more of the Type III, immature, weaker, collagen, and less of the Type I collagen, which is more mature and stronger. Also, their collagen is laid in a pattern that is not organized. There are also some Inherited Connective Tissue Disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan`s Syndrome which make the patient more prone to development of hernia
  1. Gender: Men are at a greater risk of hernia than women.
  2. Obesity : The obesity increases the risk of hernia formation especially after a routine abdominal surgery. It also increases risk of recurrence of hernia after a hernia repair surgery.
  3. Heavy Lifting: Work-related injuries could be associated with hernia development. Lifting heavy weights on a regular basis at work has the potential of increasing intra-abdominal pressure leading to hernia formation.
  4. Cough, Bronchitis, Asthma: Coughing has been shown to raise your abdominal pressure much more than any type of heavy lifting which could exert a lot of pressure on the abdominal wall. Patients who cough due to smoking, bronchitis, asthma, COPD, acid reflux, or post-nasal drip are having higher risk of inguinal hernia.
  5. Smoking: Smoking if it is associated with coughing can increase the risk of hernia formation. Smoking is aslo associated with decreased wound healing and therefore increase the risk of hernia recurrence or post-op wound complication after a hernia repair.
  6. Constipation: The straining associated with constipation severely increases intra-abdominal pressure which could increase the risk of hernia formation. Therefore, a low fibre diet which could result in constipation also is associated with higher risk of hernia formation.
  7. Pregnancy and Labor: Pregnancy alone causes an increase abdominal pressure. There is no direct evidence to suggest that this pressure can cause hernias, but certainly if there is a hernia or a tendency toward one, that may present as a bulge during pregnancy. The pressure that is exerted during labor is much more severe. Women who have undergone labor are slightly more likely to have hernias than those that did not.
  8. Enlarged Prostate or Straining to Urinate: If the prostate is enlarged, men tend to strain to make the weak urinary stream faster or to completely empty their bladder at the end of their stream. Similar to constipation, this can result in increased intra-abdominal pressure and a tendency toward hernia formation. In women, straining to urinate may occur in those with prolapsed bladder or cystocele.
  9. Sleep Apnea: This has been correlated with various factors that lead to increased hernia risk. The cause is unknown, but may be due to poor oxygenation and health of the tissues as well as the pressure from snoring against a closed airway.
  10. Surgery: Hernias that occur at the incision after an abdominal or pelvic surgery are referred to as incisional hernias. Factors that increase the risk of hernia formation after abdominal surgery include wound infection, emergency surgery, post-operative cough and constipation.
  11. Steroids, Immune Suppression or Chemotherapy: Steroids, immune modulator durgs, anti-rejection medications, and chemotherapy agents which decrease the wound healing process, may all be associated with a higher risk of incisional hernia development. These include patients who undergo organ transplantation, patients who receive chemotherapy and patients on chronic steroids or immune modulators for other problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lung problems.
  12. Ascites: Patients with ascites, usually due to liver failure, are at very high risk of hernia development. Ascites causes an increase in abdominal pressure, resulting in stretching out of the naturally occurring holes in the abdomen.
  13. Diabetes: Patients with diabetes have problems with healing. After an abdominal or pelvic surgery, if the diabetes is poorly controlled, then the closure of the muscle and fascia layers will not heal well, resulting in an incisional hernia.
  14. Sports or traumatic injury
  15. Premature birth : Premature infants have higher risk of hernia

Previous hernia: People who have a hernia on one side may develop a hernia on the other side of the abdomen.

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