Wednesday 15 June 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm Reveals Hidden Women’s Health Issue

Marla Ahlgrimm
An abdominal hernia occurs when an organ makes its way outside of its normal location by pushing through weakened muscle or tissue. They are most common (and more easily detectable) in men, but women, who have about a 3% lifetime risk of developing a hernia, tend to suffer more. In the following brief conversation, women’s health pioneer Marla Ahlgrimm touches on this often undiagnosed concern.

Q: Why is it more difficult to detect hernias in women than men?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women’s hernias are all too often hidden deep inside the abdominal cavity, meaning they are much more difficult to distinguish from other tissue; men’s hernias tend to be noticeable during a simple exam. As well, women’s body composition mean they may have more fat over the area where the hernia is hiding, so it may not be visible during an ultrasound.

Q: What are the symptoms of an abdominal hernia?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women with this condition often suffer from chronic pelvic pain. In fact, extreme discomfort in the abdomen is one of the first symptoms. Since an abdominal hernia is a relative rare occurrence in women, many doctors attribute their female patient’s abdominal pain to endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, or ovarian cysts.

Q: Is it possible for a woman to determine if her pelvic pain is caused by a hernia?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hernia pain is typically described as a sharp, shooting sensation that affects the back, hip, flank, or groin area. It is worse when performing certain physical activities including intercourse or exercise. An abdominal hernia may cause more intense pain during a woman’s menstrual period, which often leads to improper diagnosis and/or a series of exploratory tests.

Q: How are hernias treated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Despite the intense pain they may cause, abdominal hernias are often 100% treatable with laparoscopic surgery. However, the issue must be diagnosed, which may require the services of a gynecologist who specializes in chronic pelvic pain.


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