We recently spoke to esteemed Cardiff-based consultant general surgeon, Mr Michael Stechman, to quiz him in relation to the relationship between smoking and hernias and how patients can tell if they more than likely have a hernia present in their stomach.
Why is it so important to not smoke when it comes to preventing hernias?
Smoking, as we know, weakens the tissues in our abdominal wall, and overtime it obviously causes changes to our lungs, causing chronic cough. So, there is a double whammy if you like here, whereby the cough increases the pressure in the stomach and the smoking itself weakens the tissues of our abdominal wall, which means that hernias are much more likely to occur.
What are the main early signs of a hernia?
The main warning sign of a hernia is usually a swelling in the abdominal area.
What should patients do when they notice swelling in the abdominal zone?
If patients do notice a swelling, then it is very important that they get medical help, so a diagnosis can be made, in order for early treatment to take place. This will avoid the hernia becoming large and will avoid it starting to cause symptoms and possible dangerous complications.
Does lying down flat help, and when will patients know it is almost definitely a hernia?
Hernias will usually disappear when you lie down flat. So, if you’ve got a lump that is not there when you’re lying down in bed at night, but then it suddenly appears when you stand up, then for sure that is a hernia.
What are the main symptoms that patients with hernias complain of or present with?
A dragging sensation, discomfort when standing or lifting heavy objects are the two main symptoms that patients with hernias usually report.
What is the most effective imaging technique used to detect the seriousness of the hernia?
The most popular is an ultrasound scan, because that gives you a very good idea of the anatomy and also the size of the swelling and the size of the defect that the hernia is poking through.
What imaging technique is used for hiatus hernias?
Mr Michael Stechman is an expert and highly trusted and experienced general surgeon when it comes to treating and diagnosing hernias. Consult with him today by visiting his Top Doctors profile.