Symptoms and Treatments of Hernias in the Elderly

By Steve Hanson, 9:00 am on

Hernias can happen at any age, but this medical condition is very common among the elderly. When a hernia is left untreated, it can result in serious health complications, including debilitating pain, infections, and blood loss. Here is a quick look at some of the most common hernia symptoms and what can be done to treat this condition. 

Symptoms

A hernia can take place almost anywhere in the midsection, and each type of hernia produces its own unique symptoms. Seniors who have abdominal hernias generally feel bulges near the stomach or intestines. Caregivers can also gently feel their loved one’s midsection to double-check for bumps. If a hernia is near a nerve bundle, seniors might feel a sharp sensation whenever the area is touched. Most of these symptoms become worse whenever the individual is exercising, using the restroom, or lifting a heavy item. 

Caring for seniors with hernias or other serious health conditions can be overwhelming for family caregivers. If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality in-home care, Rowlett Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Common Causes

Soft tissue can push through the abdominal wall whenever there is too much pressure in the midsection. This often takes place during strenuous exercise routines. It can also occur if a senior has a difficult time passing stool. Within the last few years, doctors have discovered that coughing fits can create hernias as well. Those who have lung infections and certain forms of cancer tend to have much higher rates of hernias due to chronic coughing. 

Risk Factors

One of the biggest risk factors for hernias is an individual’s age. Older adults tend to have much weaker core muscles, and it doesn’t take much for soft tissue to push through the abdominal wall. Many older adults also undergo procedures that weaken the midsection and tear some of the nearby connective tissue. Seniors who have a family history of hernias must keep an eye out for lingering discomfort in the midsection and unusual protrusions. 

Treatment Options

Even if a hernia seems relatively mild, seniors must immediately contact a doctor for a full examination. Hernias rarely get better on their own, and leaving this condition untreated can be extremely dangerous. Luckily, hernia treatments are more effective than ever, and many of them are now classified as outpatient procedures. Mesh patches can be placed along the abdominal wall to keep the soft tissue in the correct position, and most seniors recover within just a few days. 

Seniors who have hernias should not exert themselves and consider professional in-home care when managing daily activities. Rowlett respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Preventing Future Hernias

Staying at a healthy weight, strengthening the core muscles, and wearing loose clothing can all reduce an individual’s risk of developing a hernia. Those who have a difficult time passing stool should explore treatment options for regulating their bowel movements. Eating more fiber and drinking more water can soften stool and make it easier to pass.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Rowlett seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To learn about our premier home care services, call Home Care Assistance at (972) 722-7833 today.

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