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/ Climbing with a hernia help

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Duncan Bourne - on 12 Sep 2018

I have been diagnised with an inguinal hernia.

Has anyone any experience of climbing with this condition? Is it safe to climb with a hernia? What measures will help?

Robert Durran - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I climbed for a year between first noticing the hernia and having the operation. It became gradually more uncomfortable for the first six months until it was becoming difficult to do anything much normally. I then started wearing a truss which was fantastically effective and was able to climb, walk and run normally right up to the day before the operation. I was back climbing carefully two weeks after the operation.

Anyway, since you enjoy pain, forget the truss and just relish the agony!

Duncan Bourne - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's not so much the pain as it's the avoidance of a strangulated hernia that concerns me ;-)

Robert Durran - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> It's not so much the pain as it's the avoidance of a strangulated hernia that concerns me ;-)

I was worried about that too, but the surgeon I saw to get on the waiting list told me that as long as I shoved it back in reasonably soon whenever it popped out, there was more or less no chance of it strangulating.

Andy Nisbet - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I got my hernia in November one year. I continued climbing till January when I saw my doctor to find out what it was. I continued climbing till February when I was given a hospital appointment for the op. I said April when the winter was over. They didn't say stop climbing. I had the op on 1st April and they didn't say I was an April fool. I never had any pain, not even a hint of pain. During the op, they found the other side had herniated too, so did them both. But no-one had spotted the other side in advance.  So all I'm saying really is that it depends how bad the hernia is, and the doctors up here left it up to me to decide whether to keep climbing. I did.

Duncan Bourne - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

It seems current NHS thinking is not to operate unless they have to. So managing for the long term is my current option

Robert Durran - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> It seems current NHS thinking is not to operate unless they have to. So managing for the long term is my current option

I chose to delay my operation about six months so I could go on a long climbing trip. It worked out fine, but I wouldn't delay unless you have good reason to do so - it got steadily more painful and much bigger, presumably making the operation more invasive and leaving more scar tissue - two years later I still get occasional discomfort. If it happened again I would press for an operation as soon as possible.

krikoman - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> ..... as long as I shoved it back in reasonably soon whenever it popped out, there was more or less no chance of it strangulating.

Have we veered of into Michael Hutchins territory here?

 

pwo - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

continued climbing, skiing, mountaineering right up to op with no major issues other than some discomfort at times. I was able to 'reduce' my hernia manually but not recommended in crowded places ( honest officer it's a genuine medical condition). post op was a bit of a nightmare for me ( check out peno scrotal heamatoma ) but well impressive! In short the hernia didn't stop any of my activities or impinge on my insurance.

 

 

Yanis Nayu - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I’ve got one. I don’t climb anymore, but the doctor said not to worry about exercise unless it makes it hurt. 

Robert Durran - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to pwo:

> In short the hernia didn't stop any of my activities or impinge on my insurance.

My insurance for travel/ climbing increased the excess for anything related to the hernia pre op.

 

Duncan Bourne - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I have asked to see the specialist but the GP I saw was very non-committal about an op citing long waiting lists and even saying the NHS is strapped for cash. I don't mind being given a good reason for not having an op but strapped for cash isn't one of them

Martin Bennett - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

If you can, when the time comes, have micro surgery. I had my first inguinal hernia at the age of about 35. I had the then usual open surgery and was some days in hospital and some weeks in discomfort.

Scroll on 30 years or so to my next, which turned out to be both sides at once, and I had micro-surgery. I went in to Manchester Royal at 8 am and left at 6 pm walking the half mile to my wife's car. Took painkillers for 48 hours then felt back to normal.

Robert Durran - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> If you can, when the time comes, have micro surgery. I had my first inguinal hernia at the age of about 35. I had the then usual open surgery and was some days in hospital and some weeks in discomfort.

> Scroll on 30 years or so to my next, which turned out to be both sides at once, and I had micro-surgery. I went in to Manchester Royal at 8 am and left at 6 pm walking the half mile to my wife's car. Took painkillers for 48 hours then felt back to normal.

Things have moved on. My operation two years ago was open and I was only in hospital for the day. Pretty much back to normal in a week and climbing in two.

 

SGD - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I've had 2

One on the left followed several years later by one on the right. I wasn't a climber when I did the 1st one and the recovery time was under 2 weeks but I was due to go to Yosemite when I did the 2nd one.

Basically I echo everything Robert says. I  brought a support/truss which was quite effective at holding it in so I was able to continue climbing at a reasonable level for me.

I did however notice that when I was carrying a heavy sack or climbing longer route I would feel some discomfort.

I had the op when I returned to the UK and it took 3 weeks before I could return to work (office based) and another couple before I felt able to start exercising in any real way.

Both ops were the same, i.e. treated as a day case and the actual procedure was open surgery where they inserted the gauze/mesh thingy so I have a 3 inch diagonal scar on either side.

I've had no problems since.

Post edited at 08:11
IJL99 on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

 

Many hernias come under PLCV policies (procedures of low clinical value) and so in Derbyshire we are encourage not to refer.  I would expect most of the country is the same position.  Most (most definitely  not all) hernias are small and cosmetic and cause no issues and so require no attention.  This certainly doesn't apply to all hernias and if they require treatment patients can be referred.  It largely depends on the type of hernia and the symptoms it is causing.  If the Hernia is stopping you doing things then I would consider that an indication to refer. 

 

MarkAstley on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to IJL99:

I had same right side, climbed and cycled for the 8-10 months between diagnosis and operation. Frequent pushing back in, had probably grown to around 15-20mm across by fix time, didn't really stop any climbing or cycling though I was a bit more careful in the moves I attempted.

Op was open mesh repair and was done as a day patient under general anaesthetic. wasn't allowed to drive for 10 days after so had a fortnight of work. Got some light physio exercises to do to rebuild the muscle that was cut/repaired, surprising how weak it was compared to the other side. Just started back gently and careful with moves again.

Still has moments of achiness now (1 year post op) to less all the time. Got a builder friend who had one 2 years ago and he still sometimes gets aches after a hard days work but it hasn't really affected climbing limit of either of us.

Don't do too much too early post repair as ripping the fix can be much worse than the original problem.

hope it goes well

Mark

Duncan Bourne - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Thanks for all the comments. I certainly feel less paranoid about it all now. Cheers All


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