The body is a beautiful and amazing thing… that is, until things start pushing out where they’re not supposed to. As we get older, sometimes we do things that never bothered us before (like picking up heavy objects) and our bodies seem to pay the price. Or for the women reading this – maybe when you had your children, you got more than you bargained for such as a pregnancy that invited some unfriendly hemorrhoids or a C-section which caused an incisional hernia. Either way, now you have an irritating and painful condition to deal with.
But first of all, what’s the difference between hernias and hemorrhoids? A hernia is typically when an organ pushes through the muscle tissue of the abdominal wall. A hemorrhoid is when veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum become swollen.
Unique Hernia Symptoms & Types
Let’s talk about hernias first. There are several types of hernias that present themselves with painful or unsettling symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about the most common types of hernias:
Types of Hernias
- Inguinal Hernia – This occurs when the intestines or the bladder pushes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.
- Incisional Hernia – If you had surgery in the abdomen, the incision may have weakened the muscle wall allowing organs to protrude through.
- Umbilical Hernia – Found mostly in babies, umbilical hernias happen when the small intestine push through the abdominal wall near the navel.
- Hiatal Hernia – This is when the upper stomach squeezes through the opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus is found in the higher part of the abdomen.
General Hernia Symptoms
If you are worried that you may have a hernia, here are some common hernia symptoms to be aware of:
- Acute pain in the abdomen
- Bulges under the skin just above the pelvic area or in the abdominal areas
- Nausea and vomiting which may be a sign of intestinal blockage
- Constipation which also could be a sign of intestinal blockage
- Chronic pain including aches, pressure, and burning which can be caused by compressed nerves
Typical Hemorrhoid Symptoms
There are many common causes of hemorrhoids which include pregnancy, aging, diarrhea, chronic constipation, lifting heavy objects and genetics. There are two types of hemorrhoids: 1) those that are internal and are deep inside the rectum and 2) those that are external and are found under the skin around the anus.
Here are some common symptoms associated with having hemorrhoids:
- Itching around the anus
- Bleeding from the anus
- Pain or soreness in and around the anus
- Leakage of feces
Both hernias and hemorrhoids can be managed by watching what you eat (avoid spicy, fatty or acidic foods) and keeping your weight in a healthy range. Fortunately, hemorrhoids can be relieved through over-the-counter medications, ice packs, sitz baths and moist towelettes. However, both hernias and hemorrhoids can only be completely fixed through surgery.