Epigastric hernia is a type of hernia which is characterized by weakness in the abdominal wall, which results in a protrusion. The protrusion usually occurs due to fat being pushed out of the weak part. The most common location for epigastric hernia is between the end of the sternum (or the breast bone) and the navel (or belly button).
What Causes Epigastric Hernia In Adults?
Epigastric hernia is associated with some common causes,
- In some cases, babies are born with epigastric hernia. This is a congenital defect which is attributed to the failure of the abdominal wall to close, resulting in a gap.
- In adults, epigastric hernia is attributed to increased abdominal pressure. Pregnant women are at the highest risk of epigastric hernia. During pregnancy the growing fetus, puts additional strain on the abdominal wall, making it weak and increasing the risk of a hernia.
- Other causes among adults include lifting heaving weights or doing strenuous exercises that can lead to increased abdominal pressure.
- Sudden weight gain or accumulation of excessive fluid in the abdominal cavity is also associated with risk of epigastric hernia. The hernia is more common in individuals who repeatedly strain during coughing.
- In rare cases, epigastric hernia is linked an unrelated abdominal surgery, which may leave the abdominal wall weak and prone to hernia.
Epigastric Hernia Symptoms
In most cases, epigastric hernia may not be associated with any symptoms. The most characteristic feature of the hernia is a bulge in the abdominal wall, which is aggravated while coughing or straining. The bulge may or may not be very prominent, depending upon the severity of the condition.
In some conditions however, the hernia may result in pain in the upper abdomen. The severity of the pain may vary depending upon the organs involved and the location of the abdominal weakness.
Natural Remedies For Epigastric Hernia
Epigastric hernia is primarily due to weakness in the abdominal wall and experts suggest various home remedies or natural treatments that can help improve the support,
- An herbal poultice comprising of comfrey roots, glycerin and pine bark powder is considered very beneficial to deal with epigastric hernia. Comfrey roots help promote the growth of new cells and hasten the healing of the hernia, while pine bark powder is an antioxidant which prevents secondary infection. Glycerin acts as an anti allergen and prevents allergic reactions and promotes healthy growth.
- Avoid coughing or straining at stools. Seek treatment immediately if you suffer from respiratory tract infection or constipation, to avoid aggravation of the problem. It is preferable that you sleep on your abdomen, instead of sideways, to prevent the bulge.
- Homeopathic remedies are considered beneficial in dealing with the disorder. Lycopodium and Calcarea Carb are two homeopathic remedies that are effective in dealing with hernia and also alleviating symptoms of pain and abdominal discomfort that may be associated with the condition.
If the hernia is large or is associated with symptoms like pain, it is essential that you consult a surgeon. In such cases, it is often recommended to undergo surgery, in order to avoid the risk of developing complications.