Risk Factors for Hernia
It is super important to understand risk factors for hernia development, as they also predict hernia recurrence, or failure rates. Correction of some of these risk factors will reduce hernia symptoms and improve outcome after surgery.
Yes, hernias run in the family. In fact, in my professional experience, I have noticed that having a female in your family who had a hernia is a stronger risk factor for hernia formation than if a male in your family had a hernia.
To date, some research has been done on the underlying genetic predisposition to hernias. Unfortunately, not many resources are devoted to the study of hernias. We know that in most patients, there is an underlying tissue problem in those with hernias. For example, there may be an imbalance of collagen, with more of the Type III, immature, weaker, collagen, and less of the Type I collagen, which is more mature and stronger. Also, their collagen is laid in a pattern that is not organized. In others, there may be a deficit in the matrix metalloproteinase.
Coughing has been shown to raise your abdominal pressure much more than any type of heavy lifting or abdominal crunches. Each cough exerts a lot of pressure on the abdomen. Patients who cough incessantly, due to smoking, bronchitis, asthma, COPD, acid reflux, or post-nasal drip are increasing inguinal hernia risk factors. The best solution is to aggressively treat any coughs. If you have asthma, make sure it is under optimal control with medications, environmental exposure, etc. If you have postnasal drip, use nasal sprays, irrigate your sinuses (with the Neti-Pot) and take anti-allergy medications as necessary.
This has been correlated with various factors that lead to increased hernia risk. The cause is unknown, but may be due to poor oxygenation and health of the tissues as well as the pressure from snoring against a closed airway.