Little Company of Mary Hospital Now Offers Free Hernia Screenings

Screening to take place at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) on Thursday, April 5th from 3 to 5 p.m.

A hernia is a common health problem that may require surgical intervention. A hernia is formed when the tissue inside a body cavity, the abdomen for example, bulges through a weakness in the surrounding muscle. Hernias may have no symptoms or they may cause bulging with or without mild to severe pain, which can occur at rest or be associated with certain movements like walking, running or lifting. Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) is now offering free screenings to diagnose hernias with Justin Sobinsky, M.D., general surgeon at LCMH with a special certification in minimally invasive hernia repair.

The hernia screening is performed in complete privacy. During the screening, Dr. Sobinsky will ask you to share information about your concerns in addition followed by a brief exam of the area of concern, and may listen to your abdomen with a stethoscope.

“Dr. Sobinsky will give screening participants an opportunity to share any pertinent details about their symptoms and help to determine whether any treatment is necessary,” said Eileen McNichols, MSN, RN, Director of Community Health at LCMH. “If it is determined that you may need to follow up with an office visit, there will be a scheduler from Dr. Sobinsky’s office on site to help review your insurance and set up an appointment that works with your schedule. If any x-rays or scans are needed, Dr. Sobinsky can provide you with an order for any additional testing before you leave.”

A concern about hernias is that they have the potential to become strangulated, which means that the blood flow to the tissue or organ that is protruding through the weakened muscle is cut off. When this happens, the affected tissue will die unless the strangulation is relieved. Symptoms of a strangulated hernia include nausea, vomiting, fever, sudden pain that gets worse quickly, a hernia bulge that turns red or purple in color, or an inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement. This is a medical emergency that requires surgical intervention.

The most common types of hernia are inguinal, umbilical and incisional. An inguinal hernia presents as a bulge in the area on either side of your pubic bone and is much more common in men. It usually becomes more obvious when you are standing and you cough or strain. There may be an aching or burning sensation at the bulge. The contents of the abdomen bulge through a weakness in the lower abdominal wall or groin muscles.

Umbilical hernias cause a bulge or swelling in the naval or belly button. They are most common in babies but can also occur in adulthood. These hernias are usually painless in babies but can cause severe pain if they become strangulated and the blood flow is compromised. Incisional hernias are found when there is a weakness in the muscle as a result of a previous incision or surgical cut in the abdomen. An incisional hernia can form months or even years after surgery. Symptoms include bulging and pain at the site of the previous surgery.

Although many hernias occur without a specific cause, there are risk factors for hernias. These include: Being overweight, smoking, constipation and straining while moving your bowels, heavy lifting, and pregnancy. As with all health challenges, there are some risk factors over which we have no control such as family health history or pregnancy. It is important to manage the factors that can be controlled by maintaining a healthy a weight and not smoking.

“Something that many people may not realize is that hernias can occur in a variety of different people, and we are here to help,” said Kathy Rynne, RN, Supervisor of Health Promotions at LCMH. “These screenings are particularly great because they are accessible to anyone and are conveniently held right here in the community.”

These free ten-minute consultations will take place on the first Thursday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m. at LCMH. For more information and to register for a hernia screening, call the Health Education Center at 708.423. 5774.



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