Hernia After C-Section: Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

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The protrusion of organs through weak muscles or tissues is called a hernia. Although uncommon, hernias after C-section surgeries may occur in some deliveries. The abdominal organs can protrude or herniate through the surgical incision after C-section, called incisional hernias (1).

A prospective cohort study of over ten years of data showed that two out of every 1000 women who underwent cesarean delivery through transverse incision developed incisional hernias, requiring surgical interventions eventually (2).

Read on to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of hernia after C-section delivery.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hernia After A C-Section?

Incisional hernias or ventral hernias are likely to manifest three to six months after surgeries such as cesarean delivery (1).

The symptoms of hernia after C-section may include

  • Abdominal bulge: A bulge or protrusion of the stomach muscles may appear near the site of the incision cut or surgery, and you may feel a lump in the abdomen while bowing down or lifting objects (3).
  • Pain or discomfort: Pain or discomfort after a cesarean birth is common. However, faint or severe pain while coughing, sneezing, or lifting objects could also be a manifestation of a hernia (4).
  • Nausea or constipation: When abdominal organs, such as the intestines, protrude due to incisional hernia, it can affect the digestive system. The displacement of the intestines can affect digestion and cause constipation and nausea (5).

What Are The Risk Factors Of Hernia?

Pregnant women rarely experience incisional hernia after cesarean delivery. However, certain risk factors contribute toward its occurrence (4) (6):

  • Previous cesarean births
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Overweight during or before pregnancy
  • History of steroids, chemotherapy, or medications that can affect immunity
  • Diabetes

How Do Doctors Diagnose Hernia After A C-Section?

To diagnose a hernia, the doctor will first look for a bulge near the incision site. You may be asked to stand up and cough for the bulge to be distinctly visible. Imaging modalities, such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans, may be carried out to help locate the hernia and aid in surgery (4).

What Is The Treatment For Hernia After A C-Section?

The primary approach to treating an incisional hernia is surgical repair, which can be of two types depending on the severity of the symptoms and the protrusion (7).

  • Open surgery: In this type of surgery, the patient is administered anesthesia, and a long incision is made in the groin. Then, the hernia or protrusion is pushed back into the abdomen. Finally, the abdominal wall is secured with either stitches or synthetic/biological mesh to strengthen the area.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: In case the hernia is small, the doctor may perform laparoscopic surgery. A tube fitted with a camera is inserted through a small cut in the abdomen to help the doctor visualize the hernia and repair it using synthetic mesh.

Pain relief medication may be administered following the surgery, and the doctor may advise against lifting heavy objects or performing any strenuous activity after the surgery.

What Are The Complications Of Hernia Post C-Section?

Generally, incisional hernias are treated with surgery, and complications are rare but may be severe. The intestines may get trapped or stuck in the abdominal cavity, obstructing the blood supply, which is called strangulation. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and acute abdominal pain and lead to necrosis or death of the tissue (5).

Can You Prevent Hernia After A C-section?

The risk of hernia after a C-section could be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heavy lifting, avoiding strained bowel movements, and consulting your doctor about persistent coughs and colds (8).

Can Hernia Recur After A Cesarean Delivery?

Recurrence of incisional hernias is amaj or complication that can occur years after the first surgery and may require another surgery. To reduce the risk of recurrence, avoid smoking and maintain a healthy weight (7).

Hernia after a C-section is rare but can be detected through various signs. While most incisional hernias are treated with surgery without causing complications, some may result in problems, which should be made known to your OB-GYN for timely treatment.


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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more