So, you think you may have a hernia. You’re probably dealing with some pain and discomfort in your abdomen or groin, and you might have noticed a bulge or lump in the area too. It may also hurt to cough, bend over, or lift heavy things. You know that you need to do something about it, but you’re not sure if hernia repair surgery is the answer.
Well, without making you read too far, hernias don’t usually go away without surgery. However, some people might not need hernia repair surgery right away, if ever. Read on for our breakdown of:
- Why hernias won’t go away without surgery;
- What happens if you don’t treat a hernia;
- Which at-home remedies can help with hernia pain.
So, can a hernia go away without surgery?
If your first instinct is to look for alternatives to hernia repair surgery, you’re not alone. Many people hop on Google with hopes of finding an at-home remedy for their hernia. While home treatments may ease some of the pain caused by a hernia, surgery is the only way to actually fix it.
A hernia is when an organ or tissue protrudes from a gap in the muscle wall of your abdomen or groin. Even if you can push the tissue back into place, the gap won’t close unless a surgeon goes in and joins it together with stitches or mesh.
Some healthcare providers may recommend using a binder or corset to keep the hernia in place. This temporary solution may help relieve some of the pain from the hernia, but it won’t help it heal. (Also, you should only use these methods as recommended by your provider. If done wrong, they could lead to potentially dangerous complications.)
What happens if a hernia is left untreated?
It’s sometimes safe to put off hernia surgery, as long as you and your doctor monitor your hernia for any changes in appearance or symptoms. But just like surgery, leaving a hernia untreated comes with some risks. If left alone, a hernia may get bigger as more tissue makes its way through the weakened muscle wall. This can make the hernia more painful and make it harder to do everyday activities, affecting your quality of life.
In rare cases, an untreated hernia could lead to strangulation—when fatty tissue or a loop of the intestine gets caught inside the hernia, cutting off blood supply. Strangulation isn’t common, but it can be life-threatening.
When you get a hernia, fatty tissue is the first thing to protrude through the muscle wall. This actually isn’t that bad because it can plug the hole temporarily. However, when organ tissue (like the small intestine) starts pushing through the muscle wall too—called incarceration—that’s a more serious issue.
With an incarcerated hernia, you’ll notice that gentle pressure can’t push your hernia back into place anymore. You’ll also start experiencing constant pain or discomfort. In more severe cases, an incarcerated hernia can cause nausea, fever, inflammation, or darkening of the skin over the hernia. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you notice any changes in your hernia.
Can you treat a hernia at home without surgery?
It’s up to you and your medical team to decide when it’s the right time for hernia repair surgery. If your hernia is small and it’s not causing you any pain, you may be able to put off the procedure. To keep your hernia from getting worse (and possibly relieve some of the discomfort it causes), your provider may recommend:
Using an ice pack or cold compress. Ice packs may help reduce swelling around your hernia and relieve pain by numbing the area. Your provider can give you guidelines on how long and how often to ice your hernia.
Avoiding heavy lifting and intense physical activity. Any strain on your muscle wall could affect your hernia and potentially make it worse. Exercise is important, so don’t stop working out. Instead, stick to low-impact activities, such as walking, gentle yoga, or swimming. Try to stay away from any movement that causes discomfort or pain near your hernia.
Making nutritional changes to your diet. Depending on which type of hernia you have, your provider may recommend eating smaller meals or avoiding foods that cause indigestion, heartburn, or constipation.
Reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes, carrying extra weight can put more strain on your hernia, leading to more severe symptoms. If your doctor thinks it’s healthy for you to try to lose weight, they can advise you on how to do so without further injuring your hernia.
Remember, these techniques are all about easing hernia symptoms. They’re not intended to be a substitute for hernia repair surgery, and they cannot actually heal your hernia.
Is hernia surgery expensive?
Cost is one of the top reasons people choose not to get hernia surgery. At New Choice Health, we’re always hearing from people who’ve had to put off hernia repair due to the high costs associated with the procedure. (The national average price of hernia repair surgery is between $7,750 and $9,000).
Since we’ve negotiated all-inclusive bundled rates with some of the top surgeons and healthcare facilities in the country, we can usually connect those patients with hernia repair options they can actually afford. Through our Patient Assist program, hernia surgery typically costs between $3,000 – $7,500, thousands below the price most patients are initially quoted.
What’s it like to book a hernia repair surgery through New Choice Health?
In 2018, Heather S. reached out to us after putting off hernia repair surgery for almost a year. Her symptoms were getting worse, but she couldn’t afford the $6,500 copay she’d have by going through her insurance. Then, to make things worse, she lost her job and her health insurance. Heather felt like she had even less options than before, but she knew she needed to do something.
So, she started researching hernia surgery and surgery centers. When she stumbled across a blog post written by someone who’d found affordable hernia surgery through Patient Assist, she decided to check us out.
“At first, it looked too good to be true,” Heather remembers. “But I put in my information and requested a quote anyway. Within minutes, a representative called me and explained how the Patient Assist program worked. My surgery was scheduled within a week of that first call.
“Before I paid, my Care Concierge sent me links to research the surgery center and surgeon that I was referred to. I did as much digging around as I possibly could and found nothing negative. I even searched with the Better Business Bureau. So, I took the leap of faith and sent the money. This leap of faith saved me about $6,000!”
More Patient Assist testimonials
Our testimonials page is filled with stories like Heather’s, all from people who thought it would be impossible to find an affordable price for hernia repair surgery before they talked to one of our Care Concierges about the Patient Assist program.
Here are some more examples of what our patients have to say:
“Patient Assist held my hand throughout the process for my hernia repair. I saved $4,000, I knew what the total charges would be before the operation, and I only had one all-inclusive bill to pay. “
– Mark R. (2021)
“I had an inguinal hernia but no insurance. As a self-pay patient with low income, I was in a bind. After searching the web for options, I came across New Choice Health’s Patient Assist. I chose an outpatient surgery center that was over 225 miles away, but the significant savings (about 50%) more than made up for the long drive. The doctors and staff were highly experienced, professional and friendly. And, of course, it was affordably priced—something I was unable to find on my own.”
– Albert V. (2020)
“This service exceeded my expectations in all phases of service and support. And, I saved over $4,000.00 on my hernia surgery with Patient Assist!”
– David P. (2019)
“I used the Patient Assist program for my hernia procedure, and I have no regrets! Their team did a great job advocating for me through the whole procedure, and they saved me thousands of dollars. When comparing the cost to other providers, my total savings came to more than $19,000. I know it seems too good to be true but that is what they did!I can truly say they were outstanding before, during, and after the procedure.”
– James M. (2019)
No matter how much we may wish otherwise, some medical conditions just won’t go away without surgery. A hernia is one of them. Hernia repair surgery can give relief to pain and inflammation caused by hernias, as well as help prevent strangulation and other complications in the future. To get an accurate idea of what your hernia surgery will cost before you schedule the procedure, fill out this quick form to request more information.