The Herniabible Blog

advice from people who have had an inguinal hernia

Alternative Treatments For Inguinal Hernia

There are two approaches to the alternative treatment of a small inguinal hernia. If the hernia is painful, the first priority is to prevent the pain rather than try to control it. If you understand what causes hernia pain, it becomes easier to prevent.

Hernias hurt because they are a piece of intestine that has fallen out of position through a gap in the muscle of your abdominal wall. Instead of being nicely cushioned, this piece of intestine is sitting very uncomfortably, held inside your body by your skin alone. Yet it still has to process large quantities of food while in this new, awkward position. The food causes pressure, and it is the pressure which hurts. People with a hernia usually feel worse after consuming a large, heavy meal.

If your intestines are sluggish, food residues will take a long time to pass along your intestines, and this causes even more pressure, especially when you are straining on the lavatory. More pressure = more pain.

Alternative treatments

Not surprisingly, the alternative treatment to prevent this pain is to eat smaller meals, so that your intestines will not be overloaded. It is also important to prevent constipation, so foods such as figs and prunes, apple purée (apple sauce), berries and other pectin-rich fruits will be very helpful. Leafy greens and most other vegetables are useful too. You should eat enough of these foods every day to create at least one slippery bowel movement that comes out with very little effort.

Hernias sometimes get hot and inflamed, which causes pain and can even get the hernia trapped (incarcerated). If you feel any heat or discomfort, another alternative hernia treatment technique is to soak a cloth in cold water, wring it out and hold it against your hernia to cool it down. Several people have reported to us that this brings relief. Even a cold drinks can held against the hernia can help to relieve discomfort.

Exercise is an important alternative treatment

… but it has to be the right type of exercise, which strengthens the right abdominal muscles. Most abdominal exercises are useless for a hernia because they target the ‘six-pack’ muscle – the most superficial of your tummy muscles. It is the ones underneath – the so-called ‘core muscles’ such as the transverse abdominals – which need to be developed. The Pilates exercise system was developed especially for this. These exercises are very good alternative treatments for a hernia, but they have do be done correctly, so we recommend attending a few classes first. Pilates tones up your whole body pretty well, so you ‘ll get some extra benefits too.

Herbal alternative treatments

You’ll find quite a few websites which claim to cure an inguinal hernia with their special herbal formulas. Don’t fall for this scam. At best some of these herbs such as fennel or hawthorn may have a cooling or laxative effect to help relieve the pressure in your intestines. That may help you feel better but it won’t cure you.

There is an ancient Chinese formula called Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan which was developed thousands of years ago as a treatment for all kinds of prolapses including hernias. A good quality version of this formula can certainly help to encourage healing by strengthening your collagen – the protein from which most of the fabric of your body is made.  But once again, this is not an alternative treatment to be used on its own, only as part of a holistic program.

The most important alternative treatment of all

Keep the hernia in! Keep the intestine inside and don’t let it bulge through your skin. If it continues to bulge out it will get bigger because it will force the gap in your muscle to stay open. The gap can only close up and attempt to heal itself if there is nothing pushing through it.

You may not like the idea of wearing a truss or hernia support for your groin hernia, but if you think of it as an alternative treatment which will give your hernia more of a chance to heal itself, you may feel better about it. Some people have had to wear their hernia support for only six months before finding that the hernia would then stay in on its own. (Of course they did the necessary exercises and were careful about their diet too…)

At Herniabible we recommend only the Flat Pad Support made by our sister company The Support Company. It has two unique features. Firstly the flat pads keep the hernia in but are not rounded so they don’t intrude into the gap in your abdominal muscle. Remember – if the gap is to heal there should be nothing sticking through it in either direction (inwards or outwards). Wearing a truss with rounded pads could actually hinder healing.

Secondly, the Flat Pad Support comes with a money-back guarantee to hold in a small to medium hernia at all times. That means whether you are walking, running, cycling, doing karate, or digging in the garden. People report that it gives much more confidence in being able to carry out demanding tasks. The reason why we recommend it as an important part of an alternative treatment program for a hernia is that it allows you to live your normal live without aggravating your hernia. Although clinical trials have not yet been carried out, it seems entirely possible that by holding in your hernia permanently, it will help to prevent your hernia from getting larger, and will give the gap in your abdominal muscle a chance to heal.

What are the chances of healing?

If you check out the Herniabible forum and website you will find several case reports of people whose hernias have healed. It doesn’t happen every time, but these reports show that it is possible.

It can be difficult to go against a doctor’s advice and attempt an alternative treatment program for a hernia on your own. Doctors have been taught that surgery is the only treatment that works. Even though they don’t know this for a fact, they still tend to repeat it to all their hernia patients. The problem is that up to 30 per cent of people who have had hernia surgery end up with a lifetime of pain and discomfort afterwards. The statistics can be found on the Herniabible website, and we are also running a survey for people who visit this blog (see panel on right-hand side).

If your hernia is still small, we think it’s well worth trying alternative treatments for your hernia. But as with any long-standing condition, do get checked by a doctor from time to time, and check out our post on strangulated hernias.

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May 24, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative treatments | , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. This is really good article. Very informative! I don’t want to have surgery, so this holistic plan seems to be a good start.

    Comment by Matt | October 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. I too share the same opinion: this article is indeed highly readable. I myself suffer from hernia and at times it is so painful that I am on the point of adopting the normal, nay the almost oly solution of surgery of whatever type. Nevertheless, it might require a lot more detgermination and courage in my part to use this alternate treatment since I am over 75 now with hernia developed about a year ago!

    Comment by NC Ho | April 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. I found this article very helpful. I would like to know: until how long after the hernia was first diagnosed is it possible to heal (making use of the flat pad support and doing the necessary exercises of course)?

    Comment by Laurence Nicholson | October 28, 2012 | Reply

    • There is no research to answer your question, but you can find the Herniabible forum at http://www.groin-hernia.com/phpBB/index.php and a number of individuals there have reported curing their hernias.

      Comment by herniabible | September 18, 2013 | Reply

  4. My inguinal hernia seems to have healed, pretty much by following the advice above. I was diagnosed with one in June 2012, and for a month I suffered a lot of discomfort. Surgery was not even offered, as where I live the Health Trust doesn’t fund hernia operations. I was given a medieval-looking truss that I didn’t even try on: it needed a scre-driver to secure it, and was bulky. I do a lot of sport (running especially) and I didn’t want to stop that, so I bought three of the elasticated corset-style trusses made by the Support Company, and started wearing them all day everyday, whether I was exercising or working (I have a sedentary job). I even ran a half-marathon wearing one in October with ho problems. After that, I gradually started not putting the truss on at weekends at home, and noticed that the hernia wasn’t coming out nearly as often. Since Christmas I have stopped wearing it completely, and, touch wood, the hernia hasn’t popped out once, even when I did a strenuous one-hour gym-session. I’m going to try leaving it off in a 6-mile run next! I have always eaten properly (lots of fresh fruit and veg) and kept my weight down: I’m 70 kilos and 1.75 metre in height, which must have helped. But so far the decision to sort this out myself looks like it is working. I’m 64.

    Comment by Clive Holes | January 4, 2013 | Reply

    • HI there Clive If you can write back so often and let us know how u are doing that would be great.I currently have been diagnosed with a small hernia for which surgery has not been offered. I just had my ultrasound done a few days ago and will be checking in with the doctor in this week or early next week..I have been told that surgery is the only way to fix the prob with mesh.I’m 35

      Comment by Mike D | January 15, 2013 | Reply

    • This sounds very encoraging because I am not up for going under “the knife”. I will definitely try the Flat Support and the muscle strenghting excercises. Thanks for all your encoraging information. I will keep you posted on my progress. Ken

      Comment by Ken Goodman | January 26, 2013 | Reply

  5. I’m glad I found this article and this information. I was recently diagnosed with a small hernia for which surgery was immediately pushed on me. I haven’t had the consult yet and have no desire to go through all of that as with my job (Infanteer) the time I would be out of commission at work would be extremely detremental to my livelihood. I am very grateful to know that there are viable alternatives that show a chance for successful healing.

    Comment by Jeremy Gunter (Cpl. Canadian Armed Forces) | February 20, 2013 | Reply

  6. This information is very comforting to me. I am a 29 female and though there is virtually no information on it, I am 99% sure I have a female inguinal hernia. The small bulge is at my lower left groin and has been noticeable to me for about the past 2-3 weeks now. Discomfort and some slight pain have slowly increased over this time. I’ve been doing a strict high intensity workout over the past 3 months and I’m fairly certain this is a result of some of the ab exercises in that. I’m staying positive and more hopeful after reading through the Herniabible page and also on the experiences of others as well as Falcon’s account of his personal healing. I started doing my own regimen of lower a exercises coupled with some reflexology, law of attraction, massage and soon to add in reflexology and accupressure. I refuse to have surgery, I have an impeccable diet, workout regularly and have read that some healing times can take up to 7 months before you can be back to “normal”… I plan on healing this on my own, I believe that there is a natural cure/healing method for nearly everything, otherwise our ancestors would never have lived long enough to procreate and in turn we would not exist today. I refuse to poison myself with pharmaceutical man-made chemicals, to me that is “sick care”, a clean healthy fresh, whole, raw and organic diet is “health care” and that is how I plan to continue my life. Right now my hernia only protrudes perhaps 30-50% of the day and the majority of that happens in the evening I think due to being so hydrated and at my fullest from food during the day. I wish everyone the best of luck with their own battlings of these pesky protrusions!

    Comment by Stephanie | May 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Hi Stephanie, I am a guy age 56 and I also have inguinal hernia on my left. In the mornings is usually not there but when I start to eat and move, it protrudges out. I am also trying do self healing usually natural resource and am very appreciative having read your stories and and your courage to do the same. Keep it up and good luck to us all

      Comment by Nicholas Chua | September 11, 2013 | Reply

  7. I am 35, a Female, and initially noticed the bulge in 2002….I went to five doctors over five years and no one knew what it was until 2007, when a dr diagnosed me with a left inguinal hernia. Not being educated that there could be another way, I had surgery with mesh. In 2008, during a take down of a minor at work, the hernia recurred. I had another mesh surgery in 2009. In 2010 I began have other stomach problems tat the drs cold not diagnose…right side pain tat was not appendicitis. The hernia recurred again. I was put off receiving help by workmen’s comp and was hoping for a laproscopic surgery when one day I ended up in the hospital, not able to eat for days….they removed the mesh which had attached to the intestine, and sewed the muscle together….after 10 weeks, it has recurred for the fourth time. I don’t know what to do.

    Comment by Jennifer hernandez | June 21, 2013 | Reply

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m sorry to hear that and hope you will find a good solution. Check out the Shouldice hospital at http://www.shouldice.com/ they specialize in hernia repairs without the mesh and claim to have very high success rates. On the natural healing front, read this story (http://www.ithyroid.com/hernia.htm) which links mineral deficiencies to hernias. I mentions the shortage of copper and other nutrients as a possible cause for the muscular weakness which can lead to hernia.

      I had a mesh repair back in 04, once in a while I would feel discomfort at the mesh site but it does not last. Recently, the discomfort seems to occur more often and reaches the level of pain when shoveling snow or doing similar activities. But I can’t feel any bulge yet but i have a feeling that something is not right. So I will attempt some of the suggestions that make sense such as ensuring my diet has good source of minerals and certain vitamins to support collagen synthesis in addition to the exercises. I also don’t like the idea of having a piece of plastic in my body, I don’t know how I allowed it to happen then.
      Best of luck. Please keep us updated.

      Comment by Samer | September 21, 2013 | Reply

  8. I was diagnosed with a double hernia last summer after having it for over 7 months. went to my GP who referred me to a consultant at the hospital he took a look and said to keep my eye on them. I am also under the belief that like any of your bones or tissues that it can repair itself. so I bought a flat pad support and do the exercises to my muscles and have not felt the left one for over 3 months and also the main one on my right does not feel as far out and when I have not got the support on it takes longer to show itself so feel give it time and it will heel without risking surgery……..

    Comment by John | July 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks so much for your feedback. It sounds like you are making good progress! Our forum members would appreciate you keeping them posted – forum address is http://www.groin-hernia.com/phpBB/

      Herniabible Staff

      Comment by herniabible | July 3, 2013 | Reply

  9. I have learned that if you sleep on your back, gravity will pull the hernia back in and that will help heal it during the night.

    Comment by Eric | August 14, 2013 | Reply

  10. when you sleep on your side, try to do lie on the side opposite to the hernia, assuming you don’t have bilateral hernia.

    Comment by Les S | August 29, 2013 | Reply


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