Hernia Facts

Hernia Facts

by Dr. Bruce West

My grandfather was a sharp, evidence-based, hardheaded, mechanical guy. If something on his house needed fixing, he would fix it. He used all kinds of natural health aids long before they were in vogue. He remained relatively healthy into old age. When his mind began to slip, he ended up in a nursing home. There the house surgeon convinced Gramps that his inguinal hernia (that he had for as long as I could remember) needed to be fixed.

It was an easy sell. After all, Gramps had a mild case of dementia. And he saw his body some­what like his house—if something was broken, it must need to be fixed. So despite a lack of any her­nia symptoms, he was soon under anesthesia and ready for the knife. We were later told that “the operation was a success, but Gramps died on the table.”

Myth Debunked

If you have an inguinal hernia, you need truth­ful information. Most of what your doctor or sur, geon will tell you are myths. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (January 18, 2007) debunked this myth and misin­formation. Many surgeons will operate on inguinal hernias, even if there are no symptoms. They will tell you that you run a much-feared consequence if you delay surgery.

That consequence or danger is that your hernia will become strangulated, cutting off circulation and causing bowel obstruction, gangrene, and/or peritonitis. No doubt Gramps was given this bit of medical drivel. Yet when the statistics of the dangers of delaying surgery versus the dangers of the surgery itself were examined, the facts were some­what startling.

First, even after years, there is rarely any problem with strangulation. In fact, only 1 in 720 men experienced a problem (without strangula­tion) after 2 years. And 1 man experienced bowel obstruction after 4 years. As for the surgery itself, 3 out of 720 men experienced a life-threatening complication. And less severe complications like urinary tract infections, hernia recurrence, pain and discomfort ran close to 25%.

Many men in the study crossed over (23% of the watchful waiting group opted for the surgery, and 17% of the surgery group opted for watchful waiting). In the end, the conclusion is clear. Most of what your surgeon tells you is now known to be myth. Men with minimal or no symptoms should avoid surgery unless or until their hernia causes symptoms that interfere with everyday life. Period.

Hernia Pressure Point Secret

One thing you may never be told by your phy­sician or surgeon is that if your hernia is less than the size of an egg, you can often reduce or even eliminate it with a deep pressure technique. This is particularly effective with the sudden and acute strain (with pain) of a hernia. It is generally done by a chiropractor, osteopath, or physical therapist, but it can be done at home. It consists of applying very deep pressure to four different points near the hernia.

The first point is just above your pubic bone, generally just on or below the hernia bulge itself. The next three points are 1, 2, and 3 inches above the first point going up (superior) and at a 45° angle toward the front bony part of your pelvis, which sticks out at approximately belly-button level. See the photo for assistance.

Start at Point 1 and use your thumbs to go as deep as you can. If inflamed or active, this will generally cause pain. If you are able to produce a”super-hot, almost like a flame” pain, you are on exactly the right spot. Hold this pressure until the hot pain subsides, but not longer than 15 seconds. Then proceed to Points 2, 3, and 4 and perform the same procedure.


Start again at Point 1 and repeat the whole procedure. For acute cases, you can perform this entire procedure daily for a week. Generally, in chronic hernia cases, perform it daily for a month. This treatment is also very effective for a hernia that has become strained, or for an acute muscle strain in the groin.

This therapy is effective. By using activating pressure receptors, and triggering stretch reflexes, this treatment induces muscle tightening and strengthening, and reduces the hernia itself, as well as the accompanying pain. By using this technique, you can keep an inguinal hernia in check and treat it when it hurts. This powerful therapy can bring you relief, save you from all the dangers of sur­gery, and—if you’re like Gramps—even save your life.

By the way, when you really do need hernia surgery, and you live in the Northeast, look up what is considered the best hernia surgery hospital in the world—Shouldice Hospital, Ontario Canada. See its results online at www.shouldice.com.

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