View Full Version : Tell me about your inguinal hernia!
04-09-2010, 05:49 PM
My husband was just diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. No major symptoms or pain or anything--he just looked exactly like the picture in the wikipedia article on the subject. He has a surgical consult on the 28th--supposedly the surgery is minimally invasive, but we both know next to nothing about it.
Has anyone else had a pain-free inguinal hernia? What did they do for it? What is the surgery like?
04-09-2010, 06:57 PM
I don't remember anything about it since I was a small infant at the time (though the scar from the operation is still visible). Here's the story I've been told: my mother came home from work to find me crying like crazy. The elderly babysitter told her "He keeps crying. He just won't stop crying". Have I mentioned that I'm a not a "he"? I mean, did this babysitter even bother changing my diaper? The only thing I can think of as an excuse is that my intestines, according to my mother, were bulging out so far that it looked like I had a penis. The doctor later told her that my right ovary had been wrapped up the coil. My side hurts just thinking about it. I imagine it was a very painful experience and I'm glad I have no conscious memory of it. .
I've done a little research and found that these kinds of hernias are not uncommon in babies born prematurely (as I was).
04-09-2010, 07:40 PM
I had one for years, started when I was a younger teenager but was to embarrassed to say anything about it and I didn't know what it was.
Finally went for surgery, it was day surgery, with a spinal block, I've got about a 3 inch scar, remember to shave his pubic hair other wise the the wiseass nurse will only do one side and make it look goofy. They put a mini curtain over my stomach so I couldn't watch them work and I fell asleep on the table.
There was a fair amount of blood/discolouration after the surgery but it went away after a few days, I took 8-9 weeks off of work rather than the 6-8 most do. Didn't lift anything over 5 lbs that whole time, then one time I tried after I got back to work it really hurt. I finally felt somewhat "normal" after about 12 weeks I believe but still got a bit of pain when lifting exerting for awhile, still get the odd pain from the surgery location but no complications as far as I know.
04-09-2010, 07:45 PM
I had my surgery a month ago yesterday. There were a couple threads about hernias recently, here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=11543939) and here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=523483&highlight=hernia), that I read carefully since I knew I had surgery coming up. In my case, I was out of work two weeks, watching NCAA basketball mostly. The second day back was the worst. Pain meds from the surgery had worn off completely. I had set up my recliner closer to the TV, and was planing on sleeping there a day or two, but I was able to go up the stairs the first day back.
One bit of advice for your husband: take the recommendations for stool softeners seriously. The antibiotics (IIRC) they give you during surgery cause constipation, you can't "push", and any pressure is right at the surgery site.
I liked rjk's comment (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=11313583&postcount=18), but it wasn't true for me. No swelling.
Now I can feel it if I press, but mostly don't notice it. My scars are still kind of hard, but t hasn't been that long.
For you (presumably), you'll need to be there in the waiting room during surgery, so bring a book. For him, he should have a plan for his recovery time.
04-09-2010, 09:21 PM
It may depend on the health/ age of your husband as well. I had one done when I was in my 20's and it was not a problem.
Fast forward to my 50's and I had another performed. It was under a general anaesthetic so no discomfort but I did get an infection, and that aside, it was a painful recovery. It took about 12 months for it to come good. I would add that I don't believe this was typical- the surgeon advised me that it was one of the slowest healing cases he came across.
(My father had one performed in the 1930's and spent six weeks in hospital. Things have improved since then),
04-10-2010, 07:21 PM
I had an inguinal hernia repair performed back in September, at the age of 38. It didn't hurt - I just felt things moving down there when I tensed up, and there was a visible asymmetrical bulge between my waistline and my junk. It wasn't huge, but it was noticeable.
I had the "mesh plug" repair, or whatever it is they call it. It was done under general anesthetic on an outpatient basis. My surgery was done on a Tuesday: I showed up at the surgery center at 7:00 AM and left at about 11, I think, all stitched up. We actually stopped and had breakfast at a local restaurant while my painkiller prescription was being filled, and at that time I wasn't having too much trouble moving around. (This was my first time under general anesthetic, and I was relieved to find that I suffered no ill effects afterwards.)
We then went home, and I didn't leave my house until Sunday. Sitting on the couch was pain free, but moving around hurt a good deal. ZenBeam is right, that the Vicodin tends to make one constipated, and that first bowel movement was a half-hour ordeal because pushing at all was pretty painful. I eventually discovered that if I leaned way forward (as in, chest on knees), I could push pain-free. It was one of the happiest moments of the day. :)
I found getting in and out of bed really hard for the first couple of days. I think I spent two of the first three nights reclined on the couch. Walking required a hand cradled in just the right way supporting things to (mostly) avoid very sharp pains.
By Saturday my feet were swollen from all of the sitting around.
I went back to work (a desk job) on Monday - gingerly. At six days after the surgery, this was two days earlier than the surgeon had proposed, but he ultimately left it up to me. Frankly, I was going bonkers and needed to start moving around again. I still had to "support" myself down there with one hand to walk pain-free, but I could discreetly do that with a hand in my pocket. By the end of the week that need had gone away.
The skin just "south" of the incision was numb (nothing important was affected), which the surgeon said was inevitable after a diagonal cut like that. He predicted that it would "probably" regain feeling over the course of several months. Sure enough, it's been so gradual that I didn't really notice - but full feeling is back by now.
I was told not to do any heavy lifting for two weeks, but wasn't given any restrictions after that.
It's now been seven months, and I still feel a little discomfort down there, but am under no restrictions and regularly lift weights at the gym.
04-12-2010, 04:32 PM
About 10 years ago for mine so details are pretty much lost in the mists of time.
What I do remember. Mine was pretty much what's depicted in the Wiki. I could tense my abdominal muscles and pop it out and then use my fingertips to push it back in. Interesting sensation, but no pain.
Like Brad_d I had a mesh plug repair and was back at work a week later, no lifting. I don't recall any serious pain other than being careful sitting up and shifting postion. I think I took two pain pills out of the bottle of 30.
10 years later and everything is as if it never were. I work, work out, Taekwondo, hiking and caving. No restrictions on any activities.
04-12-2010, 06:58 PM
I had a repair for this hernia in 1957, as an infant. I heard since that at that time many doctors thought infants didn't feel pain, and often performed surgery on them without anaesthetic. This sounds pretty unbelievable now, but I certainly do remember hearing throughout the 60's that animals don't feel pain, and that idea seems pretty well rejected now. My thinking is that adults these days almost certainly get anaesthetic for this surgery.
04-12-2010, 10:01 PM
I had mine done in 2003 at age 28. Ended up with about 2 weeks off work. I had the mesh plug repair. I noticed something was wrong one day when I went to get off the lawnmower and felt something squishy as I raised my leg over the steering wheel. I also have a varicocele and assumed it was some weird effect of that. Well, the urologist told me otherwise. The operation was at 7:00 and I was back home by 11:00 with some percocet for the pain.
I will also tell you that I had a very interesting side effect that has been very useful. Where my incision scar is, I can feel twitching and tensing about a minute before orgasm. So whenever I feel that, I can change what I'm doing to postpone orgasm and last as long as I want. Who'd'a thunk it?
05-30-2010, 01:47 AM
I'm now finishing up day 3 after surgery for one of these. It still hurts but I can definitely walk around and do stuff. Laughing, coughing, and sneezing are the most painful things for me right now.
I had it for multiple years but just never bothered to do anything about it since it didn't hurt. The surgeon said it was one of the biggest he'd seen but fortunately my recovery seems to be progressing quite fluidly. Too bad I'm headed straight back to work on Wednesday.
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