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Recovering from Hernia Surgery: What to Expect

If you’re suffering from a painful hernia, you’re not alone. Every year, surgeons perform close to 1.25 million hernia surgeries, making it one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.

Hernias are the result of weakened or torn abdominal or groin muscles, which allow your abdominal tissues to push through the muscular wall. Because hernias can’t heal on their own, surgery is the only treatment. 

Many surgeons use synthetic mesh to strengthen the wall of muscle and keep the displaced tissues in the correct location. But mesh repairs increase your risk for several health problems, including nerve and tissue entrapment, scar tissue that triggers mesh shrinkage and chronic pain, and inflammation or infection as your body reacts to the presence of a foreign body. 

At Anthony Echo, MD, in Houston, Texas, board-certified surgeon Dr. Anthony Echo helps patients suffering from the painful side effects of a hernia without the risk of synthetic mesh by using a highly specialized technique called the shouldice repair. This method strengthens your muscles without adding strain to surrounding tissues.  

While a no-mesh hernia repair at Anthony Echo, MD, reduces your risk of many complications of hernia surgery, it still requires recovery as your body heals. Our team wants your recovery to be as pain-free as possible and help you understand what to expect as your muscles heal. 

Recovery requires rest

After hernia surgery of any kind, your body has a lot of healing to do. You can expect to feel tired and need extra rest in the days following your procedure. However, lying in bed or lounging on the couch watching television isn’t the best way to promote healing. 

Dr. Echo and our team provide detailed instructions about which activities to avoid and the active rest to engage in to help your body heal, such as regular walking to increase blood flow, promote healing, and prevent gastrointestinal issues, like constipation. 

Staying comfortable

After your surgery, any movements that engage your abdominal muscles can aggravate your pain and slow your healing. You can avoid this by keeping comfortable during any movements that require your abdominal or groin muscles. If you have to sneeze, cough, or change positions, try putting a pillow on your stomach and pressing firmly to support your abs and prevent pain. 

Avoiding constipation

While you may feel like indulging in your favorite take-out meals or treats after surgery, what you eat can make your recovery easier or harder. Constipation is common after any surgery. The medications administered during surgery can affect your bowels as can the inactivity during downtime as you rest. 

Unfortunately, straining to move your bowels and the bloating and other symptoms associated with constipation can make recovery more difficult. Instead of reaching for packaged snacks and processed foods, limit your risk of constipation by eating foods high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and drink plenty of water to keep your bowel movements regular and soft.

Returning to normal activities

Expect to take at least a few days off work and your normal activities after your hernia surgery. The effects of general anesthesia can take 24-48 hours to work their way out of your system. 

Return to work

Most people with desk jobs or non-physical work can return within a few days of their surgery. For example, if you have surgery on Friday, you’ll likely be able to return to this type of work on Monday or Tuesday. 

For people with physically demanding jobs, however, you may need more time to recover before returning to work. Discuss the nature of your job with Dr. Echo for a personalized recommendation. 

Return to sexual activity

Many of our patients wonder how long they’ll need to wait after hernia surgery before engaging in sexual activity. In most cases, as long as you can participate in sex without pain you can safely have sexual intercourse. However, Dr. Echo provides customized recommendations based on your specific case.    

Returning to exercise and other activities

Within two weeks of your surgery, you’ll likely be able to return to most of your normal activities, including exercise, without issue. While they aren’t specific limitations on your activities, you may find that certain movements cause you some discomfort. This should lessen over time as your muscles fully heal. Be sure to discuss any specific concerns with Dr. Echo before your surgery.

If you’re struggling with a painful hernia, let the experts at Anthony Echo, MD, help ease your pain. Contact the Houston office nearest you to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online today.

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