Straining while constipated can increase pressure inside your abdomen and may increase your risk of developing a hernia. Hernias can also lead to constipation.
A hernia is when part of an internal organ or tissue bulges through an opening in your abdominal wall or groin.
In reverse, hernias can cause partial or complete bowel obstruction, which can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Complete bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. Call 911 or local emergency services if you suspect you have a complete bowel obstruction.
Read on to learn more about the connection between hernias and constipation.
A hernia can lead to partial bowel obstruction if part of your intestines pokes through your abdominal wall. Partial bowel obstruction can restrict the movement of stool through your intestines and cause constipation.
In severe cases, hernias can become strangulated. Strangulated hernias are medical emergencies that occur when the protruding tissue loses its blood supply. They require immediate surgery to prevent permanent damage to your bowel. Call 911 or local emergency services if you suspect you have a strangulated hernia.
Hernias usually don’t cause symptoms of bowel obstruction unless more than
- abdominal pain
- severe bloating
- abdominal swelling
- loss of appetite
- inability to pass gas
- severe abdominal cramps
In severe cases, incarcerated hernias can lead to complete bowel obstruction. Complete bowel obstruction is a medical emergency where no stool can pass through your intestines. It usually requires emergency surgery.
Constipation caused by a hernia may cause symptoms like:
- discomfort during bowel movements
- small or thin stools
- infrequent bowel movements
If your hernia is
- painful to the touch
- chronic coughing
- heavy lifting
In a 2022
Symptoms of a hernia can include:
It’s important to see a doctor or other healthcare professional if you have symptoms of a hernia, such as a noticeable bulge in your abdomen or groin.
It’s critical to get emergency medical attention if you develop symptoms of bowel obstruction like severe abdominal pain or vomiting. Call 911 or local emergency medical services or go to the nearest emergency room.
The U.K. National Health Service recommends seeing a doctor for constipation if you:
- have no improvement with treatment
- are regularly constipated or have been constipated for a long time
- have been bloated for a long time
- have blood in your stool
- have unintentional weight loss
- feel tired constantly
- may have constipation due to your medications
Bowel obstruction requires hospital treatment. You may need surgery if your bowel is completely blocked or if you have a strangulated hernia.
For partial obstructions, doctors often wait to see if the obstruction improves before performing surgical treatment. They may administer:
Small hernias not causing any symptoms might not need treatment. The only effective treatment for larger hernias is surgery.
A type of undergarment called a truss may help hold your hernia in place and reduce your symptoms.
Here are some frequently asked questions people have about constipation and hernias.
Can a hernia block bowel movements?
What helps constipation from hernia?
Treatment for small bowel obstruction caused by a hernia usually involves surgery. A doctor may recommend dietary changes after your surgery, such as:
- eating smaller meals more frequently
- avoiding high fiber foods
- focusing on soft foods and liquids
- limiting caffeine and tough foods
Can you take a laxative when you have a hernia?
It’s not a good idea to take a laxative when you have a hernia unless a doctor approves it. If you have bowel obstruction, stool may not be able to pass through your gastrointestinal tract.
How should you poop with a hernia?
It’s a good idea to try to avoid straining as much as possible when using the bathroom with a hernia. Increased abdominal pressure may worsen your symptoms.
Hernias can cause bowel obstruction, which can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Straining when constipated can increase pressure in your abdomen that may increase your risk of developing a hernia.
It’s important to get medical attention if you believe you may have a hernia. It’s essential to call 911 or local emergency services and get medical attention if you have changes to your bowel habits that you believe are caused by a hernia.