How to prevent risk of hernia during workouts

Hernia pain

Types of Hernia


  • Inguinal hernia – These hernias happen when the intestines push through a weak spot in the abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal. This type of hernia is common in men.
  • Incisional hernia- Here the intestine is squeezed through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery. 
  • Femoral hernia – They occur when the intestine reaches the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh. Femoral hernias are most common in pregnant or obese women.
  • Umbilical hernia- In this type of hernia a part of the small intestine enters through the abdominal wall near the navel. They are common in the newborns
  • Hiatal hernia – It happens when the upper abdomen pushes the hiatus (an opening in the diaphragm) through which the esophagus passes.
  • Epigastric Hernia – They occur when fatty tissue squeezes through the stomach, between the navel and the lower part of the breast bone.
  • Spigelian Hernia – Here a part of the bowel pushes through the abdomen at the side of the abdominal muscle, below the navel.
  • Muscle Hernia – It happens when part of the muscle pushes through the stomach and can also occur in the muscles in the leg, usually as the result of a sports injury.

Cause & Risk factors

Hernias are caused mainly due to weakened muscles and strain. Progression of hernia depends on its cause. Some hernias develop quickly while others progress over a long period of time. The main causes are listed below:

  • Congenital defect in which the abdominal wall fails to close properly in the uterus
  • Old age
  • Persistent coughing
  • Damage from injury or surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Constipation
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Rigorous workouts
  • Fluid in the stomach
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Enlarged prostate
    A family history of hernias, obesity and smoking can increase the risk for hernia.


Presence of a bulge or lump in the affected area is the classic symptom of hernia. In some cases the lump may be painless. Symptoms may vary according to the type of hernia. Some of the common symptoms are listed below:

  • Pain or discomfort in the affected site
  • Weakness, pressure, or abdominal heaviness
  • A burning sensation at the site of the bulge
  • In most cases bulge can be pushed in or it goes back on its own while lying down.

Hernia and workouts

Strenuous workouts and weight lifting may increase the risk of hernia. Adapting few lifestyle changes can prevent hernia effectively. People who perform workouts without proper training can end up in hernias. Some common workout tips can help in hernia prevention.

  • Warm up before each session of work out: A good warm up helps to relax muscles and prevent tearing.
  • Progress Slowly: Don’t lift heavy weights at once. Try to increase the weights in small increments. This will help to progress better and also reduce the risk of hernia or any injury.
  • Breathe Into the abdomen: Abdominal breathing is very effective while lifting weights. The right way of breathing is to feel the stomach expand while breathing in and vice versa. This can be practiced regularly in the gym. While lowering the weight, breathe in and expand the belly. Then while lifting the weight, blow the air out and let the belly contract. This breathing pattern is safer and also keeps one stronger, because it helps to stabilize the torso when lifting.
  • Proper guidance: Get the guidance of a trainer while working out. The trainer can suggest the suitable exercises which carry lesser risk for occurrence of hernia.

Lifestyle Changes to prevent Hernia

  • Keep a check on weight: Obesity is a major risk factor for hernia. Presence of extra pounds around the belly will stretch and weaken the abdominal lining and increase the risk of having a hernia. Eating a well-balanced diet helps to maintain healthy weight.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking can elevate the risk of hernia. Smoking can cause hazardous toxins to pile up in the body. This will eventually affect the body’s capability to produce enzymes which stimulate cell creation and growth. This can gradually deteriorate the abdominal lining. Chronic coughing (which is common among smokers) can cause the weakened abdominal lining to tear and cause a hernia.
  • Avoid Constipation: Constipation and straining while passing bowels could put lot of pressure on the muscles and connective tissues in the stomach. This will eventually lead to tearing of the abdominal lining. Constipation can be avoided by eating a healthy diet that is rich in fibers like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Staying hydrated is also very important. Water helps to flush out bowels along with other toxins.


Trusses and surgical belts may help in holding back the projection of certain hernias when surgery is not feasible or must be delayed. However, they are not suitable in the case of femoral hernias. Avoid activities that increase abdominal pressure (lifting, coughing, or straining) that may cause the hernia to grow larger in size.


Over the counter drugs are helpful in managing hiatal hernia. The drugs commonly prescribed are antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.


The treatment of every hernia is personalized. A physician will assess the risks and benefits of surgical versus nonsurgical management before taking the decision.
Hernias that are painful and growing larger in size would require surgery. Both Open and Laparoscopic surgeries are available for treating Hernias. In Laparoscopic surgery a tiny camera and miniaturized surgical equipment is used to repair the hernia. This surgery requires a few small incisions. Laparoscopic surgery cause less injury to the surrounding tissues. Hernia surgery is mostly performed as an outpatient procedure.
Open surgery needs a lengthier recovery period compared to laparoscopic surgery. Adequate rest is required up to six weeks in general. Hernias may reappear after surgery, so protective measures are very important to help avoid a relapse. Hernia Surgery in India is performed by highly qualified and experienced surgeons in India at the hospitals having with most advanced facilities. more information about hernia surgery and procedure here.


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