It's a condition you probably associate with men, but women can suffer from hernias, too. They can be painful and debilitating, but a simple surgery can fix the problem. As Andrew McIntosh tells us, sometimes the hardest part for women is getting the right diagnosis.
Author Martine Ehrenclou writes about how patients can take charge of their health care, but recently, Martine had to follow her own advice when she started experiencing severe abdominal pain.
Martine saw 12 different doctors and spent 10 months in intense pain, still no one could tell her what was wrong. Then she found a doctor who finally gave her an accurate diagnosis. It was a hernia! Martine actually had two.
Doctor Shirin Towfigh (toe-fye) says hernias are often overlooked in women. A hernia happens when part of an internal organ bulges through a hole in a muscle-which can entrap abdominal fat and compress nerves, causing intense pain. Women are more likely to have internal hernias. The hard part: diagnosing it.
Pain from hernias may be misdiagnosed as pelvic pain from ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis or adhesions. Doctor Towfigh says a vaginal exam, an MRI and a complete patient history are the best ways to spot one, and fixing a hernia is simple.
Martine had hers fixed and can now focus on making music with her daughter-and not her pain.