Hernia is the protrusion of any internal organ through an abnormal opening anywhere in the body. By far the most common forms of hernia are those which occur through sites of natural weakness in the lower muscular wall of the abdomen through which a portion or loop of the intestine may find its way under certain conditions.
Types of Hernia
Hernia occurs in both sexes and is a common disorder, affecting more than two percent of British men. Hernia are classified according to where they occur.
- Inguinal Hernia is the most common, accounting for over seventy percent of all external hernias. It is twenty times more common in men than women and occurs when a part of the abdominal contents pushes into the ingunial canal. This is narrow passage in the groin through which the testis descends into the scrotum before birth. The contents of the hernia may pass down into the scrotum which becomes quite large. This form of hernia may be difficult to distingush from an independent swelling of the testis or scrotum such as hydrocele, and a medical examination is always advised in order to accurately diagonese the scrotal swelling.
- Femoral Hernia is the next most common type accounting for seventeen percent of all hernias and usually occurs in women. Here the abdominal contents move into the front of the high through an opening which carries the femoral artery into the leg. This artery is the major supplier of blood to the leg.
- Umbilical Hernia is the third most common type, accounting for eight percent of all hernias. Here the hernial sac bulges out through the umblilcus where a natural weakness in the abdominal muscles exists. This form of hernia usually appears at birth or in infancy, but may also occur in an obese and weak abdomen in middle age. Hernias are also classified according to whether they are reducible or irreducible.
- A reducible Hernia is one where the protruding sac can be pushed back inside the abdomen. Frequently the hernia reduces itself whenever the patient lies down, but re-emerges again when he stands up. However, some especially large hernias have to be pushed back. Most hernias belong to this group and can often be benefited by a specific set of yogic asanas learned under careful guidance.
- An irreduciable Hernia is a life-threating situation and a medical emergency. This occurs when the abdominal contents become caught in the hernia and cannot be pushed back. Such a situation can lead to strangulation, gangrene of the parts in the hernia and even death. Therefore, if this does occur, even if there is no pain one should go immediately to a hospital.
Yoga program for prevention and management of Hernia
Precautionary note: No asanas should be practised while a hernia remains in an unreduced state. Any hernia should first be replaced inside the abdomen by expert manipulation.
- Asana : Pawanmuktasana 1 & 2, especially naukasana, ardha titali asana and poorna titali asana. Halasana, pashinee mudra, sarvangasana, matsyasana, vajrasana, shashankasana, marjari-asana, ushtrasana, yoga mudra, vipareeta karani asana, supta vajrasana.
- Pranayama : Bhramari pranayama, mild bhastrika, with antar kumbhaka, jalandhara and moola bandha, and bahir kumbhaka with uddiyana bandha.
- Mudra and bandha : Ashwini mudra, vajroli mudra, moola bandha, agnisar kriya.
- Shatkarma : Jalaneti. Laghoo shankhaprakshalana once per week.
- Relaxation : Yoga nidra.
- Management of hernia involves restoration of proper digestion, correction of constipation and balance of the apana vayu.
- Hernia sufferes should not lift heavy weights. Sneezing, coughing, difficulty while passing urine and stools must be overcome if a hernia is not to recur.
- A light natural vegetrain diet is recommended, with adequate bulk to avoid constipation. Dietry moderation is essential. Never take so much food stretching of the abdomen and therefore raised abdominal presurre occurs.
- If aggravation of the symptoms of hernia occurs mild fasting is recommended, especially the taking of one meal less per day. This usually makes the condition-manageable again.