Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can working out cause a hernia?"
How does lifting weights cause hernias? I am 40 and think this might have happenedd to me?
Hernias occur due to a weakening in the abdominal wall that then causes a defect through which intraabdominal organs or fat can protrude. Generally, whenever there is a increased pressure in the intraabdominal compartment, there is an increased chance of developing a hernia because the wall is weakened. In addition, hernias may also have a congenital component, (present since birth), and have a tendency to increase with age. Thus, conditions like pregnancy, smoker's cough and diseases that cause a lot of coughing (COPD), and heavy weight lifting all increase the risk of herniation. Men are more prone than women to develop hernias, and can even have scrotal pain and testicular damage if a hernia worsens. Symptoms associated with a hernia include a "bulge in the groin", pain at the site, and vague pressure like symptoms. If you believe that you have any of the above symptoms or are concerned that you may have a hernia, it is important to seek medical attention. Hernias are generally repaired on an elective basis as soon as possible in order to avoid an emergent situation, where if a part of intestine has gotten stuck in the hernia cutting off the blood supply to the tissue. Symptoms of incarceration or strangulation, are signs of a bowel obstruction, i.e severe pain, vomiting, nausea and absence of bowel function (unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement). You should follow up with your primary physician and seek referral to a surgeon to have a hernia repaired in order to avoid its potential complications as listed above. Your doctor will also be able to counsel you on your weight lifting regimen.
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