The best way to treat a hernia without surgery is to monitor it and make some lifestyle changes, although there are inherent risks in avoiding surgery, advises WebMD. Only umbilical hernias, which occur with babies and children, can repair themselves over time.
Hiatal hernias occur when there is a tear in the diaphragm, allowing part of the stomach to protrude, explains the Mayo Clinic. Most individuals who have this do not require surgery, and the symptoms can be mitigated with lifestyle changes and medications. Acid reflux is a symptom of a hiatal hernia and can be treated by avoiding spicy foods, chocolate, and acidic fruits and vegetables. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can also alleviate symptoms. The hernia should be monitored by a medical professional in case it worsens and requires surgery.
An inguinal hernia, which occurs when part of the intestine pushes through a tear in the abdomen, often requires surgical treatment because it can lead to more serious problems such as incarceration or strangulation, states the Mayo Clinic. An incarcerated hernia is when the part of the intestine protruding through the wall obstructs and puts pressure on other tissues such as the bowel. This can lead to pain and vomiting and can prevent bowel movements. Strangulation occurs when the blood supply to that part of the intestine is cut off, causing the tissue to die. This leads to infections and can be life-threatening.