It’s your lucky day, blog readers. You get a sneak peek of the SUPER sexy and fashionable item that I’m gonna start wearing during my runs.
I know what you are thinking. WTF is that ugly thing? Is she serious?
Unfortunately, I am.
It’s an Umbilical Hernia Belt. Yes, I said hernia. Apparently my 17 miles of hills on Sunday caused a hernia. Which, frankly, I’m relieved about because when I woke up Monday morning and felt a lump on my lower abdomen about 2 inches below my belly button, I convinced myself I had cancer and the end was near. So a hernia is a relief. And an umbilical hernia (as opposed to an inguinal hernia) is even more of a relief. (Because many people can have an umbilical hernia and not need surgery; with an inguinal hernia, surgery is necessary).
Here’s what I learned about an umbilical hernia, in the lay terms that my (new and awesome!) doctor explained to me: Umbilical hernias are common in babies and not super common in adults. They happen more frequently with women who have had kids because pregnancy and childbirth weaken the abdominal walls. They are often caused with activities that overexert yourself with pressure on the abdomen (a lot of times with obesity, which obviously isn’t my case). The hernia itself is fat poking through a weak area of my abdominal muscle that created a small hole (and during the exertion the fat poked through).
I had basically self-diagnosed myself before seeing the doctor (thank you Google). But she took a history, did an exam (classic sign: the lump is there when standing up, but when you lay down it disappears and can’t be felt), and then did an ultrasound to confirm with images.
The good news, in my particular case, is that I don’t need surgery because: it isn’t painful (the first day it was tender to the touch, but I can never feel pain when I’m just sitting here and living life – not touching it); it isn’t interfering with my bowel movements (TMI, sorry); the first layer of muscle is completely intact (the layer that keeps the guts in); it is TINY according to the doctor. (Google “umbilical hernia images” and you will see some NASTY looking photos; mine looks nothing like that – it is mostly just something I can feel by touch and you can see a slight bump if you know where to look and are searching for it). Some umbilical hernias “relapse” – where they sort of shrink and recede (the fast is going back where it belongs) and then appear again with exertion. Some remain as is. But as long as it’s not painful, obstructing bowels or interfering with life activities, I can just let it me. If it gets bigger, interferes with bowels or bugs me, we can talk about surgery (from what I read surgery always and very easily fixes hernias).
The other good news is that she said I can run as much as always. Whew. She said if it bothers me while running, to wear the super sexy umbilical hernia belt. It sort of is like compression socks, but for the abdomen. Or a girdle. Tucks things in to where they should be. She did say if it bothers me or interferes with running, to come back and discuss surgery. She also said that I can and SHOULD do ab exercises like planks, etc (not crazy ones with swinging movements and weights – which I don’t do anyway) because if my abs are stronger, that, too, will keep things in place where they are supposed to be.
Always something to keep life interesting! :-)