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Abdominal Wall Hernia (AWH), paying attention to our body

Posted on 15-05-2017

Based on publications by the Mexican Hernia Association, in recent years hernia pathology has been at the center of attention in academic and scientific-technological forums due to the frequency of the pathology and the complications and incapacity to function socially or at work associated with hernias. According to the National Health Data System (SINAIS), Abdominal Wall Hernias (AWH) pose a serious problem for public health around the world. The condition affects between 10% and 15% of the population in general and can affect up to 25% of the economically active population, a group aged between 30 and 59 years of age.

A hernia is lump protruding from the abdominal wall. The term comes from the Greek word ‘hernios’, which means ‘prominence’ or ‘protrusion’. A number of parts of the body can be affected by a hernia. The most common are inguinal, or groin hernias, femoral and umbilical. According to Dr. Francisco Rosales, Gastrointestinal Surgeon at Hospiten Los Cabos, “post-operative care is key to preventing incisional hernias, which develop through a surgical incision”.

There are factors that can lead to a hernia forming, such as obesity, age, smoking, constipation and any physical activity that increases intra-abdominal pressure; as well as congenital factors. It is not unusual for the patient to have no symptoms or discomfort, as hernias may not be visible and may only protrude from time to time. As Dr. Rosales says “many people do not know their own body, they do not self-examine their body, we do not learn to listen to our bodies”. When there is acute discomfort like pain, nausea and vomiting, immediate medical care is required, as there is a serious risk of strangulation. Dr. Rosales emphasizes that “the only treatment for a hernia is surgical, because there may be complications like the hernia getting larger, necrosis (tissue death) or perforation of the hernia”.

Current surgical procedures can prevent a hernia reappearing by implanting a mesh in the affected area; these are also less invasive treatments thanks to laparoscopic techniques. A Transabdominal Pre-peritoneal Hernioplasty (TAPP) involves three half-centimeter incisions.