T Nation

Recurring Hernia


Last June I had my umbilical hernia repaired during my tummy tuck and breast lift surgery. The TT included lots of muscle repair to my abs after being badly separated from pregnancy.

Well, my hernia has returned, I believe after some great, intense workouts that included heavy squats. I saw my plastic surgeon and he wants to do the repair again himself (he is also a general surgeon), but said he would not use mesh. He also didn't say much when I asked him about lifting weights. I don't think he has much experience with patients that workout seriously.

I have lowered my weights and upped my reps until I can get it repaired. I have backed off most ab work, just doing some hanging knee raises for now.

Even after a second repair, I am starting to think that going heavy on the big lifts is going to continue to be a problem. My goals had been to lean out a little more and then maintain while focusing on gaining strength (indefinitely). I had thought of maybe trying PL'ing or strongman at some point in the future (if I get strong enough).

I am wondering if anyone has any info or experience dealing with hernias, especially umbilical. Doing some research online, it seems that mesh has a slightly better rate of (non)recurrance. Might a lifting belt help keep it from coming back again?


I have had one done Jillybop. I specifically had to talk with the MD about the mesh because he was not very knowledgeable about it. Funny ehh?

One thing in particular is that you should either tell him you are a powerlifter or show him some videos of what you do (what I did). After the initial shock, then he will be more understanding of the stress we go through every day.

Not to put him down, but some doctors have no idea of the difference between a fitness gym and a powerlifting gym. Sad but true...


Thanks for your response. That's a good idea. :slight_smile:


Hey Jilly, I've got a possible hernia problem as well, although it's not inguinal, not umbilical. I've made a couple of posts about it but had no replies so far.

Can you still work out and do physical exercises as usual with a hernia?

I read a post here by one guy who said that a hernia popped out as he was lifting, so he pushed it back in, kept going and ignored it, and it hasn't bothered him since.


Johnny, from what I understand, once you have a hernia, they do not go away until surgically repaired. They are a hole in the muscle/fascia where your "insides" can poke thru. If they were to become tangled, twisted or pinched, it could potentially become a serious situation requiring immediate surgery (although this is rare).

There is always the possibility that straining (heavy lifting) may make the hole bigger. :frowning:


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I was wondering about this, too! Might a tight lifting belt help? I've never used one, but I'm certainly willing to try it. I was hoping someone might have experience or know someone who dealt with this successfully.


Jeez, that sounds really crappy.

The one I've got is in my groin...it's not confirmed as a hernia just yet but it sure seems like one.

I'm working out carefully and only exerting myself to about 80% maximum but can still get some wicked pumps as long as I 'feel' the muscle group being worked, isolate it and squeeze it.

I'm a bit scared to do heavy squats although I really want to up my squat weight! Only squatted 100kg (about 220lbs?) tonight.

Lifting belts increase intra-abdominal pressure; I wouldn't be too sure about their effectiveness. It may help to hold the organs in place I suppose, but perhaps wearing some sort of 'truss' or wrapping is also a good idea.