I was about 12 years old when one of my cousins was brought to our house by his mum (my own aunt). They were based in a city that is an entirely different location from ours, about 300 kilometers apart. The visit was primarily for a medical emergency concerning my uncle.
Back then, the explanation for the medical emergency is that his scrotum swelled up massively and this is causing him serious pain. He actually opened it up for me to access and it was such an ugly sight. He was brought down mainly because there is a standard government teaching hospital in our city.
My cousin was immediately taken to the hospital and within a few days, he went under the knife and had the correction done. A few weeks after, he showed me the part of the scrotal sack that was cut opened for the correction. My ignorant self back then thought that it was one of the scrota that swelled up and the surgery was done to remove it.
Thus, whenever there is a quarrel between myself and my cousin, I always abuse him by calling him a one scrotum man. Two decades after, I got educated that what he had was actually a special type of hernia known as inguinal hernia. In retrospect, that will be my first encounter with medical cases involving hernia. The second was a few days ago.
This time, it involves a Septugenerian (my cousin should be about 18 years old when his own happened). He is a father to a friend. I got talking with him and he informed me about his dad's health status. He feels a deep and sharp pain whenever he is in a crouching position and will usually find it more painful to stand up.
The pain usually eases off after lying down for a couple of minutes and everything returns to normal until the next cycle. The father spoke out when the occurrence became more frequent. He was taken to the hospital where the initial diagnosis was appendicitis, but further tests showed that it is indeed a hernia.
Surgery was recommended and a few days after, yesterday to be precise, he went under the knife and was discharged some hours after the surgery. I am not privy to knowing the type of hernia this time, but I am certain it is different from that of my cousin.
Hernia: causes, and prevalence
A hernia is a medical condition characterized by the pushing of internal organs or tissues into muscle walls of the connective tissues that hold them in place. It happens by a combination of weak muscle and pressure exertion on internal organs or tissues.
Thus, someone with weak muscles around the groin who lifts heavy objects or pushes too much while trying to pass feces may end up pushing one or two of their internal organs or tissues into the weak muscles. This can lead to different complications depending on how severe the situation is.
The muscle weakness that leads to a hernia is believed to be due to old age. This would explain the case with my friend's father. It is also believed that muscle weakness could be congenital. This can only explain the case of my cousin who has a hernia in his teenage years.
Going by the two cases shared above, one would believe that all hernia cases require surgical corrections. Organs or tissues that are displaced need to be put back in their positions most times in order to avoid life-threatening situations. However, in actual fact, not all hernia requires medical emergencies. Some may not even require it at all as long as they are asymptomatic and causes no discomforts.
I have only witnessed two cases of hernia in my over 30 years of existence. Thus, is normal to think that it is not so prevalent in the population around here. And that will not be totally around. There are about one thousand cases annually in Nigeria. That's quite small when you consider that Nigeria has over 200 million people.
Occurrence is more in adults from 40 years and above, rare in toddlers and children between 3 and 13 years of age, and less common in babies between 0 and two years as well as those between ages 13 and 40. Also, men are at a higher risk of contracting hernia than women, especially, inguinal hernia. This is because of the reproductive anatomic structure of men. The presence of holes around the groin region of men as compared to that of women makes men more prone.
A hernia is a medical condition in which tissues or organs slip into the connective muscles of the body. It is caused by a combination of 2 factors -weak muscles that could be due to age or congenital, and pressure that results from pushing too hard or lifting heavy objects.
There are varying symptoms depending on the type of hernia and many cases require medical emergencies. A few cases may require no treatment whatsoever. Hernia, even though not so common in the Nigerian population, is more common in men than in women due to the structure of the reproductive anatomy of men.
Have an experience with cases of hernia? Feel free to share below.
Thank you for reading.
Posted with STEMGeeks