It was early September 2011. I was in the pantry at home organising some boxes of stuff. I had a box on the floor and I was bending over arranging things in it. Then I felt a strange sensation that was a bit like water running inside my skin of my upper left groin. It didn’t really hurt, but I knew something wasn’t right. Within a couple of days there was a visible bulge in this area (high on the left side of the pubic bone) and I though “oh no, it really is a hernia”.
This prompted me to start looking into what hernia’s were and what could be done about them. I was totally surprised. People were saying that hernia’s were often the result of sedentary lifestyles and that if you don’t keep fit, at some point as you get older, you’ll probably get a hernia. Why didn’t someone tell me this before! I was leading a sedentary lifestyle and I wasn’t very fit, but I though hernias were something other people got and usually related to really straining themselves somehow. No one said that you need to keep fit or you’ll get a hernia.
So what causes a hernia (at least for the type I’d developed – an inguinal hernia)? Well the abdominal muscles and tissues are quite complicated. Many different layers and overlapping pieces. A weakness forms in some of these layers or pieces and then some of the internal organs (intestines) can push out through the weakness. Simple as that really.
The next step was to find out what to do about it. Quickly I found out that you can have an operation where a “mesh” can be put over the weakened area to effectively hold the intestines inside. I’m not keen on allowing anyone to cut me open unless it’s really necessary, so I kept reading. I found many people with horror stories from this operation. Some people saying the pain of the hernia was still there after the operation. Others saying that they’d lost all feeling around the area of the hernia and just had a numb sensation. Then other people saying that the cause of the hernia was lack of fitness and excess weight and the operation does nothing to address the cause, and so it’s very likely that another hernia can arise (perhaps on the other side) shortly after the operation. This was good information. No matter what, I needed to lose weight and get fitter!
Then I found a video where a guy was suggesting that he healed his hernia mostly through exercise. See the Films & Videos page under the Resources tab or click here. He showed a group of exercises. I started doing them immediately, in late September 2011. I also started to try and watch my diet with the intention of losing weight. At this time I was about 240 pounds which is where I’d been all through 2011. Watching my diet didn’t really help. I made it down to 233 pounds but, by the end of 2011, I was back to 240. Some things happened to me in early 2012 (that’s another story) that caused a radical shift and by the end of 2012 I was 195 pounds.
All through 2012 and the first half of 2013, I’ve been doing exercises almost every day. I switched from the ones in the video mentioned above to more intense exercises that I found in the book “Cure Hernias” (see the Books page under the Resources tab). I certainly got fitter. Then I started looking into Yoga and I’m doing almost exclusively Yoga now.
In this book, and in many websites, it’s suggested that wearing a hernia belt is important during the time of trying to improve fitness. When not doing exercises, the belt is used to hold the hernia in and reduce strain on the weak area of the body. Some websites also warn that wearing hernia belts can cause more damage. I find this a confusing area. In fact, the book “Cure Hernias” actually says both in different parts of the book. I bought a hernia belt (the flat pack style) and used it for a while. I found it very uncomfortable and was doubting whether it was really helping for me. In my case, the hernia is quite low down, close to the pubic bone. I don’t bother wearing the belt any more.
I’m much lighter fitter and healthier now, but the hernia is still there (two years on!). It’s no worse that it has ever been. Generally it doesn’t cause me discomfort (only sometimes) and it doesn’t stop me doing anything, so I’m not ready to let someone cut into me to try and “fix” it. I’m going to keep working on my health and fitness and see if my body can sort out how to heal it. There are times when the hernia stays in for an hour or so, especially just after waking in the morning. This gives me some hope that maybe one day it will stay in for good. So I’ll keep going forward, trying to get a bit fitter every day, a bit healthier every day and a bit more mentally in-tune everyday with my mind more and more calm and harmonious. Hopefully this hernia will heal itself and, at least, not get any worse.