Hernias occur when an organ is able to push through a gap in the muscles that hold it in place. While many hernias are painless and are typically not dangerous, they do require surgery to correct. For this reason, it’s best to try and prevent them before they happen. Some risk factors are impossible to prevent, such as those caused by age, pregnancy, or a family history, but for the most part, you can take tangible steps to ensure they do not happen to you. Here’s a look at some of the best ways minimize your risk for a hernia.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese is one of the most common risk factors for a hernia, because excess weight puts more pressure on the internal organs and makes them more likely to slip out of place. Reducing your overall body weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of preventable hernias.
Be smart when you lift
Poor form when lifting heavy objects is another common cause of hernias. To prevent the risk of injury, always keep your spine straight and use the power of your leg muscles to lift. Avoid using abdominal pressure for strength, and if possible always lift with a partner.
Heavy, chronic coughing is another risk factor for hernias. While certain medical conditions may make coughing difficult to control, there are ways to minimize the occurrence—specifically quitting smoking. There are undoubtedly more important health reasons to quit, but if nothing else do it to reduce the likelihood of a hernia. This is especially important for people who have a family history of hernias.
Add fiber to your diet
The straining motions that are associated with constipation may also cause a hernia if they are severe enough. Adding more fiber to your diet is an effective and healthy way to improve digestion and reduce the occurrence of this condition. Some popular high-fiber foods include whole grains, fresh vegetables, and nuts.
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