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How do medications treat a hernia?

There are no medicines that can cure a hernia, which is a hole, tear or weakness in body tissue through which another body part may protrude, causing a bulge. Surgery to repair the hole or tear is the only definitive treatment for hernias that require treatment.

Indirectly, however, taking some medications may help prevent a hernia from worsening. For example, for hernias that occur in the abdominal or groin area, certain actions -- such as coughing or straining during a bowel movement -- may increase the pressure in the area, potentially worsening the hernia.
If constipation is causing you to strain during bowel movements, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener or fiber product, which might indirectly help your hernia by minimizing abdominal pressure. If you have a chronic cough, your doctor may prescribe medicine to treat the underlying cause of your cough, such as lung disease, which could also indirectly minimize the pressure on your hernia.
If you need to have surgery to repair a hernia, your doctor may prescribe pain medication to help you during your recovery period. The medicine isn't helping to treat the hernia directly but may reduce your pain as you recover from surgical treatment.

Abdominal wall hernias cannot be treated with medication because they cannot repair an abdominal wall opening. Surgery is the only way to treat a hernia that is painful or has developed serious complications. Hiatal hernias (diaphragmatic hernias) are the exception, antacids, histamines, and proton pump inhibitors are often effective in relieving indigestion symptoms and preventing stomach acid production.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.