Hernias should not be taken lightly. While many hernias can be small and not cause symptoms, hernias usually will enlarge or cause symptoms in the future. A simple elective operation to repair a hernia, scheduled when you have time to plan the day of surgery and allow for a period of recovery, can become complicated and emergent if the hernia ever becomes stuck. I, occasionally, see patients come into my office after months of feeling slight to moderate groin pain that all of a sudden turn into debilitating pain in their groin or abdomen. An emergent surgery is sometimes necessary. Allowing a hernia to strangulate makes a routine surgery more complicated and requires more significant recovery time.
The problem often lies with a misperception that a hernia is not a big deal and we will just go away with rest. A hernia will never go away. A hernia is a hole in the abdominal wall that cannot repair itself. In actual fact, hernias usually will only get worse over the course of time, causing greater pain and discomfort.
The bottom line is that a hernia should be addressed at the first signs of onset – discomfort and pain or bulging – because the procedure will be more straightforward, recovery will be shorter, and the chance of the hernia returning will be decreased drastically.