Hernias can cause intestinal obstruction when a portion of the intestine becomes trapped or incarcerated within the hernia sac. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how this can happen:
1. Hernia Formation: When an organ or portion of tissue pushes through a tear or opening in the connective or musculoskeletal tissue surrounding it, a hernia forms. In the case of an abdominal hernia, such as an inguinal hernia or a femoral hernia, a section of the intestine may push through the frail abdominal wall.
2. Entrapment: The intestine may get stuck inside the hernia sac once it pokes its way through the abdominal wall. The intestine becomes trapped when the opening it went through shrinks or constricts, preventing it from returning to its normal location in the abdominal cavity.
3. Constriction: The trapped intestinal segment may become severely compressed inside the hernia sac. The size of the hernia opening, the tension in the tissues around it, or motions that increase pressure inside the abdominal cavity are only a few causes of this restriction.
4. Reduced Blood Flow: The constriction may narrow the blood arteries supplying the confined section of intestine with blood. As a result, the blood supply to that region is hampered, which causes ischemia (a lack of oxygen and nutrients).
5. Intestinal Obstruction: If the blood flow to the affected area of the intestine is disrupted, the tissue may begin to bulge or even die. The intestinal lumen may become partially or completely blocked as a result of intestinal swelling. Due to this obstruction, food, liquids, and gas cannot flow through the gut, resulting in symptoms including severe stomach discomfort, bloating, vomiting, and constipation.
An intestinal obstruction caused by a hernia that has not been treated may develop into the more deadly condition of strangling. Strangulation happens when the confined intestine’s blood supply is totally cut off, resulting in tissue death and potentially fatal complications. Therefore, it’s imperative to get medical help right once if you think you have an intestinal obstruction due to a hernia.
Now, Understand : What is intestinal obstruction?
A condition known as intestinal obstruction occurs when there is a partial or total blockage that hinders the normal movement of food, liquids, and gas through the intestines. It can happen in the large intestine (colonic obstruction) or the small intestine (small bowel obstruction). Intestinal blockage might be a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away.
Symptoms of intestinal obstruction can vary depending on the location and severity of the blockage. Common symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping: The pain may be intermittent or constant and can be severe.
- Distention and bloating: The abdomen may become swollen and visibly distended.
- Nausea and vomiting: Due to the blockage, the stomach may become full, leading to feelings of nausea and eventual vomiting.
- Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement: The blockage prevents the normal passage of gas and stool.
- Lack of appetite and weight loss: Reduced appetite and unintentional weight loss may occur due to the obstruction and associated symptoms.
If intestinal obstruction is not treated, it can result in consequences like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, infection, tissue death (necrosis), and intestine perforation. These issues could endanger your life.
The underlying cause and the degree of the obstruction will determine the course of treatment. It could entail non-surgical procedures such bowel rest, medication, or decompression by nasogastric tube insertion. Surgical surgery may be required to remove the blockage or repair the damaged portion of the intestine in more severe cases or if problems develop.
Need immediate medical attention for a hernia condition?
For top-notch treatment and the greatest after-care assistance, consult Dr. Mir Asif Rehman, MD, DNB, general surgery, general surgeon, laparoscopic surgeon, and proctologist at Mirascare Multispeciality Clinic.