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History of colon cancer. Overweight and having ventral hernia. Need advice on losing weight and hernia

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3190 Questions
Dr. Rijhwani helped me a lot when I asked about allergy and sinus problems and what to do for it. Now I have another question and would appreciate it if anyone could help me. I had colon cancer surgery in 2007. Everything turned out fine, thankfully, did not have to have any follow-up treatments or chemo. I am 73 years of age. I have always tried to keep in shape by exercising and diet. However, since the surgery, I have developed a Ventral hernia (have two of them) gained weight, and was wondering, since I am overweight (5' 2") and weigh around 210 lbs, if I can continue my exercise DVD's, which are light aerobics and walking, plus some strength training. I realize I shouldn't do any sit-ups anymore, but was wondering if losing the weight will be helpful with the hernia. They said no surgery unless it really acts up, which it does only occasionally. Would wearing a hernia belt help? I never had a weight problem until after I had cervical cancer back in 1968, which also thankfully, was found early, so again no follow-up procedures with this either. I know I have been extremely blessed to have had two major cancers in my life but survived them both. Even though I weighed 110 lbs all through High School, I gained up to 145 after having the partial hysterectomy in 1968, when I was only 27 years old. Luckily I already had three children by then, and didn't plan on having more. I would like your advice on losing the weight, and also the hernia. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Kay Covington.
Posted Fri, 1 Nov 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Deepak Kishore Kaltari 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Brisk Walking is best exercise, belt won't help

Detailed Answer:
Welcome to Healthcare-Magic
Greetings of the day
Dear Ms Kay Covington
It's really nice to know that you faced two cancer bravely.

It's quite natural to put on weight after years of any surgery. Weight reduction in your case will definitely help Ventral hernia by reducing the further progression in size of hernia. Presence of extra fat in abdominal wall weakens the wall. Best way to reduce weight for you will be religiously following these 2 things mentioned below

1. Diet Control - Consume More of water, green leafy vegetables, vegetable salad, two serving of fruits a day.
Avoid oily food, refined sugar and excessive consumption of table salt

2. Exercise - Brisk Walking will be best exercise. Brisk Walking for 30 minutes at a stretch per day will definitely help. If possible walk twice for 30 minutes each. Other form of exercise may aggravate the hernia.

Regarding use of hernia belt, it's not advisable as I have seen many patients who on their own have started using the belt and have presented with thining of skin and ulceration due to friction of skin with the belt. It dies more harm than good.

Decision to operate on Ventral Hernia depends on size of the defect and how big is the protrusion of contents through it. A hernia with wide opening and swelling occurring only on coughing or staining can be left alone if the patient is not fit for surgery. A hernia with a tight opening and contents always lying outside it definitely requires surgery as it may get obstructed. So decision to operate depends from case To case assessment and medical fitness.

I hope it helped.
Wishing you a happy and healthy life ahead.
Take care
DR Deepak K K
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