As the COVID-19 cases continue to mount and with no availability of immediate potential treatment or vaccine, it is absolutely necessary to train ourselves for living with COVID-19. In order to save the global economy, countries are now considering having certain relaxations during the lockdown in their respective countries, including India. In such circumstances, we have to prepare ourselves for living with the new “normal” by ways of introducing certain behavioral changes in our routine and implement social distancing, in order to combat the pandemic and save ourselves.

Following steps can aid in protecting us and our families during this pandemic:

1) Be aware of the local situation:

  • Stay aware of the latest information regarding the status of COVID-19 in your community and your city
  • Prepare a list of local authorities that you can get in touch immediately in case of requirement of any emergency aid such as friends, family members, drivers, family doctors, etc.

2) Be prepared for the possibility of getting ill:

  • Take due care of family members who are deemed to be at higher risk of getting infected, such as elderly members or those who suffer from co-morbidities.
  • Keep in mind which room you will select to use as a “quarantine” area if any of your family members get the infection and needed to be isolated.

3) Strictly follow the preventive steps:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid frequently touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay in your room if you are sick
  • While sneezing or coughing, cover your nose and mouth with a cloth or tissue and dispose of in a covered bin after use
  • Clean and disinfect the surfaces in your home, which are frequently touched
  • Be prepared for creating ample room for every family member, in case the children and/or other members have to stay at home due to shutdown

4) Be alert in case of witnessing any symptoms:

  • Stay at home and consult your doctor, if any family member, including yourself, develop symptoms such as   fever, cough or difficulty in breathing
  • Other family members should stay away from the symptomatic patient

5) If any family member gets sick:

  • Continue the following hand hygiene
  • Isolate the sick member
  • While caring for the sick family member, follow all recommended protocols (PPE kits and face mask) and be aware of your own health
  • Keep the surfaces disinfected
  • Take care of the emotional well-being of all your family members

6) Care of children and co-morbid family members:

  • Remain at home and avoid venturing into crowded places
  • Pileup the stocks of the medicines, you require in case you need to stay home
  • Strictly follow hand hygiene practices
  • If at all you need to go out, maintain at least 6 feet distance with others
  • If any child in your family gets infected, notify the school authorities so that they can alert others

7) Take care while going to buy supplies:

  • Family members who are not sick and are at least risk of getting infected should run the necessary errands.
  • Always wear a face mask, avoid gatherings and follow social distancing norms while going out
  • Don’t go for public transportation or shared cab services
  • If at all you need to go through public transport, maintain social distancing and avoid touching handrails and frequently wash your hands with a hand sanitizer.
  • Once you return home, immediately wash your hands with soap and water and then perform any tasks.

8) Coping with stress:

  • Avoid watching, reading or listening to news related to the pandemic for a prolonged period.
  • Take deep breaths and meditate to cope with the stress
  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Regularly engage yourself in exercises
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco or consumption of drugs
  • Talk with your friends through telephone, regarding any bothersome issues.
  • Consult your psychiatrist, if you are feeling too anxious
  • Take care of the elderly and co-morbid patients, as they are more prone to get extra stress due to COVID-19
  • Keep a watch on children and teenagers as they may get excessively stressful due to being confined at home
  • Avoid the spread of false news and stigmatizing healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients

The ongoing pandemic is exerting the whole world both physically and mentally but there’s no doubt that this pandemic will come to an end one day. Sooner or later there are going to be vaccines and treatment that will bail us out. However, what’s also for sure is that, life after this pandemic is going be significantly different than before and full of precautionary measures. So, if you want to get back your previous lives then a lot will depend on our actions and only then we will experience a normal world after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is said that anything that causes an increase in pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia. It is usually innocuous and painless, however, time and again it can bring utmost pain and discomfort especially on doing certain activities which we will discuss further in the blog. Though, anyone can develop a hernia at any age, adults are more likely to have an inguinal hernia. Among adults, the chances of having an inguinal hernia increase with age. Hence, it becomes important to follow certain precautionary measures in order to avoid getting one. Adults who frequently find themselves doing strenuous sports and physical activity, particularly weight-lifting, can develop an inguinal hernia. However, hernias are not just caused by lifting heavy weights, but could be congenital or may also be caused by a bad adult lifestyle i.e. smoker’s cough, and other conditions like COPD that cause heavy coughing, which exerts pressure on the abdominal wall. It is always recommended for both males and females to not ignore any type of hernia and seek immediate medical attention if any discomfort stays for a long period.

Now let’s go deeper in understanding exact reasons that contribute to the causes of hernia in adults.

In simple terms, hernia is a protrusion of the inner organ or part of the organ through a weak muscle area. Although there are multiple reasons for a hernia, below are some common contributing factors of muscular weakness or tension that can cause hernia in adults.

  • A congenital condition – a defect that may be present during infant development but is detected during adulthood.
  • Muscular weakness due to advanced age or as a result of an injury or surgery. Reasons such as obesity, smoking, and an unbalanced diet can lead to the weakening of muscles in the abdominal region which can cause a hernia.
  • Constantly recurring respiratory disease or coughing can put strain on the weak muscles.
  • Performing heavy exercises or frequent lifting of heavy objects.
  • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets and more) can cause a hernia. Pregnant women have a higher risk of getting one due to an increased pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy.
  • Longstanding chronic constipation and pushing hard for a bowel movement can be a big cause of hernia in adults.
  • Accumulation of more fluid (>25 ml) in the abdomen area could be a cause of hernia in adults due to the increased pressure of fluids.
  • Obesity/ overweight is another factor because it increases the strain and pressure on the abdominal muscles, therefore making them weaker and more prone.

Each kind of hernia has various causes in adults, which implies that the measures you take to intercept them will also be moderately different. However, consuming a high fiber diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking can help curb a hernia. Please note that not all of them are preventable and it’s always advisable to seek proper medical care to avoid severe consequences as they cannot heal on their own. And, just in case you’re experiencing any discomfort while sitting, walking or performing any routine physical activities then contact your primary care provider as soon as possible and request an appointment.

Although Mr. Shivdas Swami is 74 years old, after going through the TAVR procedure, he feels that he has turned 47 years and is delighted to get back to his daily routine, farming. He also plans to visit Kashi Vishwanath temple and fulfill all his incomplete dreams. He gives equal credit to the doctors who counseled him well and boosted his confidence to go through the procedure.

Hernia? Isn’t that something that happens only to athletes or only bodybuilders and weightlifters?
You may also have such similar questions in mind but the truth isn’t the same. Hernias happen more often than you think. A hernia can happen to men, women, and children. However, overall hernias do tend to be more common in men than women. You may not be born with a Hernia but you may end up getting one. Not many know but Hernias can cause complications that can be life-threatening. It’s important to seek emergency care if you experience symptoms. Though Hernias often show no troublesome symptoms, frequent abdominal complaints may signal a serious problem. Let us now learn more about Hernia and its various types.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia occurs when an internal organ or fatty tissue compresses through the wall of tissue or muscle that contains it which is referred to as the fascia. Most hernias are found within the abdominal cavity which lies between the chest and hips. Usually, an abnormal bulge under the skin of the abdomen near the groin or the navel is observed. Anything that increases the pressure in the abdomen can result in a hernia, this can be by lifting heavy objects, diarrhea or constipation, obesity, persistent coughing or sneezing or even after giving birth.

There are mainly six types of Hernias: Inguinal Hernia, Femoral Hernia, Umbilical Hernia, An incisional hernia, Epigastric Hernia, and Hiatal hernia.

  • Inguinal Hernia: This is one of the most common forms of Hernia which usually affects men more often as compared to women. In an Inguinal Hernia, a part of the intestine penetrates a little into the groin at the top of the inner thigh through the inguinal canal post-birth after which the canal is supposed to close almost completely behind them. This type of Hernia may be painful or touch-sensitive. Some symptoms may include swelling in the groin, burning sensation or pain while coughing and while bending over.
  • Femoral Hernia: A femoral hernia is common in women as compared to men. A part of the intestine or the fatty tissue enters the canal that carries the femoral artery into the upper thigh. Women who are obese or pregnant have a higher chance of having a femoral Hernia. Most femoral hernias cause no symptoms but one may have some groin discomfort. It may get worse while standing, lifting heavy objects, or strain.
  • Umbilical Hernia: Common in infants and sometimes also affects obese women or the ones who have had many children. This is caused when a part of the small intestine protrudes through the abdomen near the navel. Umbilical hernias in children are usually not that painful but if they appeared at an older age then it may cause abdominal discomfort, vomiting, etc.
  • Hiatal Hernia: A hiatal hernia is when your stomach bulges up into your chest through an opening in your diaphragm, the muscle that separates the lungs from the abdominal organs. The opening is called the hiatus, so this condition is also called a hiatus hernia. A lot of people might not notice any symptoms but few might have heartburn, bloating, burping, upset stomach and vomiting.
  • Incisional Hernia: This is more prominent if you’ve had any previous abdominal surgery. The intestine pushes through the abdominal wall where the surgery had occurred. Apart from a prominent bulge, incisional hernias might also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, thin stool, burning sensation and fever.
  • Epigastric Hernia: In Epigastric hernia, a fatty portion of the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall between the belly button and the chest. The bump or bulge caused due to this phenomenon is visible all the time or sometimes only when one coughs, sneezes or laughs. This type of Hernia is often seen more in men than in women. It is said the epigastric hernia may occur due to increasing tension on the abdominal wall near the diaphragm.

Ultimately, the fact is that one can get Hernia either by birth or can develop as they age. The treatment for hernia can be either surgical or non-surgical. However, most of the Hernias need surgical repair. It is always recommended to get yourself checked by an expert as soon as any of the above-mentioned symptoms continue to cause severe pain and discomfort.

With so much debate going around the risk of Hernia and chances of returning to normal life post a Hernia surgery, it becomes very important for people to have a deep understanding of the problem first and some of the most common types of Hernia that are often seen in individuals. For the people who don’t know, a Hernia occurs when an internal organ or fatty tissue compresses through the wall of tissue or muscle that contains it which is referred to as the fascia. There are various types of Hernias e.g  Inguinal Hernia, Femoral Hernia, Umbilical Hernia, an Incisional Hernia, Epigastric Hernia, and Hiatal Hernia but the most commonly found ones are Hiatal and Inguinal. Though many Hernias occur in the abdominal region between your chest and hips, they can also appear in the upper thigh and your groin area.

Although anyone of any age can get a Hernia, a child, the elderly, smokers, and the obese stand a much higher chance of developing one. People who have already had Hernia surgery are also vulnerable to getting Hernias again. But, nothing to stress about, it is crucial to treat Hernia just like any other health problem in life which tends to worsen if not addressed on time. Mild symptoms can later be turned into serious ones and hence, early detection and treatment become very important in the case of Hernia too. Let us now learn more about the most common types of Hernia and its symptoms.

1) Hiatal Hernia

A Hiatal Hernia occurs when the upper stomach squeezes through the Hiatus through which the esophagus passes. A lot of people might not notice any symptoms of Hiatal Hernia but in some cases, patients have raised issues like heartburn, a feeling of burning in the lower chest area. It mainly happens when the patient is lying down or is in a bending position, preferably after meals. This heartburn may get worse after consuming citrus fruits, spicy food, raw onions, carbonated drinks and even alcohol. Below are a few other symptoms of Hiatal Hernia:

  • Feeling bloated
  • Bad taste in the throat region, or belching
  • Acid Reflux
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting
  • Black stools which reflect Gastrointestinal bleeding

2) Inguinal Hernia

In an Inguinal Hernia, the intestine or the bladder get extended beyond the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the abdomen. 96% of all groin Hernias are Inguinal by nature, and the majority of them occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area. Here are some of the common symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia:

  • Swelling/lump in the pubic region
  • Burn or pain in the swollen area
  • Groin pain, especially during bending or coughing
  • Heaviness in the groin or Pain
  • Swelling in the testicular region

Though there’s not a lot that one can do to avoid getting Hernia from developing, there are a few steps you can follow to reduce the pressure on your abdominal muscles like avoiding heavy lifting or doing it in a right manner, maintaining a balanced diet, maintain healthy body weight,  etc.

Remember, it is very important to not take any stress as it can be effectively treated with surgery. You can get back to living a normal life a few months after the surgery.