News Feed Discussions Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

  • Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    Posted by UhOh! on June 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    First the quick background: I noticed a small bulge on the left side last week right at the very top of where my torso and leg connect and hernia was my first thought (though when pressing on it feels the same as the right side, maybe a tiny bit softer, and I thought these typically showed up a bit lower). I had one repaired on the right side when I was six (26 years ago), though from what little I recall that one was lower, larger and harder. My preferred form of working out is heavy barbell training, and has been for several years.

    So, now for my question: Does my use of the Valsalva technique for breathing (deep breath in, hold in belly, create intra abdominal pressure, exhale after the rep, repeat) during weight training put increased intra abdominal pressure on the wrong places and increase the risk of any hernia getting worse? I wear a belt, which is what I brace my abs against when lifting, but the little bulge I noticed is slightly below where my belt is. I’m not so worried about the weight itself making the hernia worse, but I’ve seen different theories on the internet (hint: not from reliable sources) about the impact of the Valsalva maneuver used during weight training (not a medical exam) on inguinal hernias.

    No pain, and I can maybe feel a little something moving around an inch or so below the bulge when I press deep, but it could just as easily be some of the cords and tubes that carry blood and other substances to/from the scrotum, a tendon or nerve or an implant from an alien abduction for all I know… Sometimes feel like something is shifting around internally exerting a little pressure but not exclusive to that side, not painful and feels like it could be any number of things (gas included). Haven’t gone to had it checked yet but I’m in the “don’t fix it till it’s causing problems” and “just because you can fix it doesn’t mean you should” camps with most health issues.

    Thanks.

    DrEarle replied 8 years ago 2 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • UhOh!

    Member
    June 21, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    Will see how it goes, but today was pretty promising. I took the weight down a little, but the biggest difference (I think) was losing the belt; I didn’t even feel that bit of pressure I previously did when squatting because I wasn’t creating the maximal intra-abdominal pressure that I would with the belt (which allows for increased pressure, but doesn’t cover the area where the hernia is). Hopefully bulge stays small and lifting stays comfortable!

  • DrEarle

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    I have no idea how to answer that. Listen to your body, and use common sense. While you may not know the medical terminology, most people know if something is seriously wrong.

  • UhOh!

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    Thanks for the clarification, much appreciated! One more question, if you don’t mind: Would you consider the minor, painless “pressure” felt in the area when lifting as “hurting” in this context (that is, trying to avoid aggravation by “pushing” more material through the hole)? Or am I simply feeling my abdominals pushing against that which is already there?

  • DrEarle

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    I am saying that coughing probably puts more strain than weight lifting. If it hurts the groin, don’t do it. If it doesn’t, go ahead. Very unlikely to do “more damage” following that rule of thumb. DE

  • UhOh!

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    Much appreciated, thanks! I do think an expert consultation is a wise next step, so I have an informed idea of what I can and cannot do and the if/when/how of repair.

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that I should avoid putting strain on my groin beyond that of a cough or sneeze (and therefore back squatting with 300lbs across my back is a bad idea)? In general, if I don’t feel strain/pressure on the area is it likely I’m not causing further damage (I realize you cannot give me a specific answer or medical advice without seeing me so this may not be an appropriate question to pose here/now)?

    Thanks again.

  • DrEarle

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    UhOh! Inguinal hernias that can barely be felt almost always do not contain bowel. Femoral hernias in obese patients being a notable exception. Let symptoms guide your activity. Probably the most strain you can put on your groin is coughing and sneezing. I would not worry about your breathing technique. If you want a more detailed exam, see a general surgeon that does hernias for a living. That doesn’t mean you have to get it fixed, but you’ll likely have a higher quality exam and more clear info about options. You can find a surgeon interested in hernia surgery at the Americas Hernia Society website, or ask you primary care doctor. Hope this helps!

  • UhOh!

    Member
    June 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Weight training with *possible* inguinal hernia

    So quick update: I went to an immediate care branch of a local health system for the purpose of a basic diagnosis and the doc said she felt a small hernia. I didn’t get the sense she knew that much about the subject other than what was in a textbook back in school (which was disappointing, given that she was a DO and I would have expected more knowledge of musculoskeletal issues, but I digress…).

    Based on that encounter, I have a couple of additional questions:

    1. She said that the inguinal canal was clear; does that by nature make this a direct hernia?

    2. Is there any way to know whether, at this time, it is bowel or just fat comprising the hernia?

    3. What, if any, value is ultrasound imaging at this point in terms of confirming the diagnosis or providing other information?

    Thanks.

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