By Dr. Julia Lizy, MBBS (KEMU)
What is a hernia or herniation?
A hernia is when abdominal contents, including an organ or other tissue, protrude through a weak area in the muscle of the abdominal wall.
You can be born with this abdominal wall weakness.
Whatever the cause, poor muscle strength along with increased pressure in the abdomen can result in a hernia.
Constipation can place increased pressure on the abdominal/ stomach wall, leading to the formation of a hernia.
The elderly are more prone to a hernia caused by constipation.
A hernia can cause mild to severe consequences. When a hernia forms after a case of constipation it should be taken seriously, as it may be due to the death of a portion of the bowel, caused by a lack of blood supply to that part of the intestine.
It is generally understood that constipation leads to increased pressure on the abdominal wall.
The more the pressure, the more the chances of the herniation of abdominal contents through the weak area in the abdominal/ inguinal wall.
A hernia that is caused by pressure from constipation should be examined by a doctor, even if the constipation is dealt with.
Surgery is considered to be the only option for treating a hernia. Surgery repairs the weak defect in the abdominal wall.
Whenever difficult to pass stool is passed, it results in excessive internal abdominal pressure.
Relieving the constipation will result in decreased pressure on the abdominal contents and organs, resulting in a reduction in the severity of the hernia.
Magnesium is a natural osmotic laxative that draws water into the colon, which can help fight hernia constipation.
More water in the colon helps to keep stool moist, soft and slippery, which may greatly reduce pressure caused by constipation, plus eliminate straining during defecation and the pressure caused by straining.
This reduction of constipation and straining is what is needed to prevent hernias caused by constipation.
Philips Milk of Magnesia and Epson Salt are two magnesium products which may help with constipation relief. However, these products are only recommended for occasional use.
Taking 300 mg. to 400 mg. of a magnesium supplement each day may be enough for ongoing constipation relief.
A magnesium supplement may also help to fill a nutritional need, since 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diet.
Getting the proper amount of magnesium may help achieve certain health benefits.
It may also help to prevent conditions caused by constipation, like hemorrhoids, anal fissures and hernias.
Constipation can result in greater pressure on organs in the abdomen and on the abdominal wall. To make matters worse, straining during defecation causes additional pressure.
If there is a weak area in the abdominal wall, this pressure may result in a hernia. This danger is especially present in the elderly.
To prevent constipation from creating a hernia, it is best to find a long-term solution to constipation.