Once a hernia develops, there are two options: Have it surgically repaired or use a product available for home use to alleviate pain and prevent worsening of the condition. One such product is the hernia brief, and while it may not prevent surgery, it can help manage the pain until the repair can be done.
A hernia results when an area of thin or weak muscle in the lower abdomen tears and allows a small part of the intestine to protrude through the opening. The resulting bulge is a soft mass felt under the skin and is often painful, especially when coughing, bending, or lifting. The bulge may be quite visible and become more pronounced when standing upright. It can cause pain during exercise and even during normal daily activities. The pain is not something to ignore.
Though painful, most hernias are not life threatening of themselves. However, if the loop of protruding bowel becomes twisted or strangulated, the bulge may become red, purple, or dark, and be accompanied by severe pain, nausea, or vomiting. If this happens, call your doctor immediately. Other than this serious condition, the discomfort can be managed at home. One trick is to push the hernia back through the opening in the abdominal wall with gentle pressure by a flattened hand while lying down. If it will not go back in, application of an ice pack to decrease swelling may be of help. Once the hernia is back in place, it is important that it stays there once normal activity resumes. A hernia brief, a hernia girdle or other types of hernia underwear can be of help.
Made of strong, elastic materials, this undergarment can provide support to the weak abdominal muscles. The briefs are useful with different types of hernias, such as abdominal, scrotal, or inguinal. Some have removable padding that can be placed according to individual needs, especially helpful with inguinal hernias in the groin area.
Unlike a hernia belt or truss that can allow the muscles of the abdomen to move and shift, the support panels in the brief provide full coverage and support over a larger area. Even while it maintains strong support, it has less bulk that a belt and allows the user to dress in everyday clothing without bumps and bulges.
Wearing a supportive brief will not correct the underlying problem. Only surgery will do that, but it can be helpful both before and after surgery.
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