Hernias can be painful and greatly impact your quality of life. For this reason, it is imperative to see a doctor immediately when you suspect that a hernia may be present in the abdomen or the groin area. Your physician will utilize several methods to determine if a hernia diagnosis is called for, then proceed with an effective course of treatment. Here are some examples of how your doctor may go about arriving at this type of diagnosis.
In many cases, it is possible to arrive at a hernia diagnosis on the basis of a simple but thorough physical examination. Depending on the size and type of protrusion, the physician may be able to diagnose your condition by simply pressing lightly on the impacted area. If the patient is experiencing symptoms that are commonly identified with a hernia, this will help to reinforce the possibility that a hernia is present. Your doctor may also use a stethoscope to listen for subtle changes in your body while having you cough.
However, not all hernias provide a wealth of data that can be identified in a simple exam. When this is the case, your physician will have to utilize other methods to determine if a hernia diagnosis is in order. These may include ordering a computerized tomography or CT scan to identify the presence of any abnormalities. In other instances, your doctor may order an MRI or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, especially if there is a suspicion that the hernia is mainly embedded in the abdominal wall and not yet beginning to protrude.
Along with these tests, there is also one other test that your physician may consider necessary before settling on a hernia diagnosis. Known as a diagnostic laparoscopy, this is a mildly invasive procedure that is done under general anesthesia. A scope is placed directly into the abdominal cavity, allowing the physician to examine the abdominal walls in minute detail. Typically, this procedure is only utilized if other methods of evaluating the possible presence of a hernia do not yield conclusive results.
Once your physician has diagnosed the presence of a hernia, it is possible to begin administering the proper treatment. The actual treatment process will vary, based on a number of factors, including age, the location and size of the hernia, and the degree of discomfort the patient is currently experiencing. However, it is impractical to initiate any course of treatment before there is a verified hernia diagnosis in place.