The 10 Best Hernia Belts
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Be it inguinal, femoral, or umbilical, there's one thing all hernias have in common: they are not fun. But you can mitigate the pain and shorten the recovery time you experience after suffering a hernia -- and/or after a surgical procedure to repair one -- using one of the support systems you'll find on our list. We've included models for men, women, children and infants. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hernia belt on Amazon.
A Brief History Of Hernia Belts
Today they are primarily used by patients for whom surgery is especially risky.
The first description of a hernia in recorded history dates back to 1550 B.C.E., in Egypt.
Hernia belts, also known as trusses, were listed in catalogs as long ago as the American Civil War era.
Primitive hernia trusses, like those that appeared in Snowden & Brother's catalog in the 1860s, were assembled from leather and steel, and included a series of metal springs. Needless to say, they were decidedly not ergonomic.
A particularly popular device known as Eggleston's Truss included a cup-shaped pad, with a free floating ball inside. The ball would apply pressure to the area of the hernia, just as someone might do with their finger, holding the hernia "securely day and night," according to the device's marketing material
Truss designers faced a stiff challenge in finding a construction that would keep the device's pad permanently in contact with the hernia.
Later trusses employed technology similar to their predecessors, albeit with modern materials, and even today some use metal springs and a stiff pad to apply pressure to the bulging tissue. Modern hernia belts use the latest elastic synthetic materials, which in many cases are more resilient and effective than the leather and metal devices that preceded them.
As hernia surgery grew increasingly safer throughout the 20th century, the need for long-term use of trusses diminished. Today they are primarily used by patients for whom surgery is especially risky.
What Is A Hernia?
Simply put, a hernia occurs when an organ protrudes through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it.
Hernias most frequently involve abdominal protrusion by a segment of the intestines.
About 25 million people suffered a hernia in 2013, according to one global study. The most common forms of hernia are inguinal, femoral, umbilical, and hiatal.
In inguinal hernias, fatty tissue or a portion of the intestines poke into the groin, near the top of the inner thigh. These hernias are more likely to be observed in men than women, and are generally accepted to be the most common type of hernia.
These hernias are more likely to be observed in men than women, and are generally accepted to be the most common type of hernia.
Less common is the femoral hernia, which again involves fatty tissue or part of the intestines protruding into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are more likely to occur in aging women.
As you would expect, in umbilical hernias fatty tissue or a segment of the intestines pushes through the abdomen near the navel.
Finally, in hiatal hernias part of the stomach pushes into the chest cavity through an opening in the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. This muscle, known as the diaphragm, is highly susceptible to the weakness and tearing that leads to herniation.
About three percent of women and 27 percent of men will develop a groin hernia in their lifetime, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.
Symptoms of herniation include a lump or bulge in one of the aforementioned areas. This lump can typically be pushed back in, and may even disappear when resting in certain positions. Strain from coughing, having a bowel movement, crying, laughing, or from various forms of physical activity can cause the lump to re-emerge.
Hernias typically require surgery to repair. If you suspect you have a hernia, see a doctor immediately. Hernias can be life threatening, particularly if a portion of your intestine becomes trapped in the abdominal wall. The three most common types of hernias were responsible for nearly 60,000 deaths in 2015.
Some hernias do not require repair, but this should be determined by your doctor. For instance, symptomless male groin hernias are not typically repaired.
Many who have hernia surgery are able to return to work within two weeks. Those who have their hernia repaired with a mesh device can recover in mere days.
While many hernias are unavoidable, there are some ways to reduce your herniation risk.
Start by generally reducing strain on your body and strengthening abdominal muscles, where possible. This advice may sound too broad to be useful, but a simple way to achieve this is by maintaining correct posture. Poor posture can contribute to the development of a hernia by repeatedly straining and weakening certain muscles.
If you have a severe cold or persistent cough, see your doctor to limit the stress that coughing puts on the diaphragm and abdomen.
Obesity increases pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which can both cause hernias and worsen those that already exist.
You can also reduce the risk of herniation by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking. Obesity increases pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which can both cause hernias and worsen those that already exist. Obesity can also make the early identification of hernias difficult. Proper nutrition can also limit your risk for a hernia, by contributing to healthy muscle tissue.
Many hernias occur during bowel movements or urination. Avoid straining and limit the length of visits to the bathroom so that you don't stress and tire the muscles involved in those activities. If you find this impossible, it might be wise to consult your doctor about adjusting your diet. Healthy bowel movements should not be overly involved.
Additionally, it is wise to learn proper lifting technique, and to let others lift objects that are too heavy for you to move without great exertion. This rule also applies in the weight room, where many hernias occur. Stay in your weight-lifting comfort zone, know your limits, and use appropriate safety gear.
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