While some minor hernias resolve over the course of time, other nonsurgical treatments include the use of a girdle or corset to support the abdominal wall, reports MedicineNet. A study published by the American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy in 2012 used exercises to treat a sports-related hernia.
Inguinal or umbilical hernias can be left alone if they do not cause symptoms and are small in size, reports MedicineNet. Likewise, umbilical hernias in newborns often resolve themselves by the first year of age. These hernias need regular checkups, but surgical treatment is not necessary unless they grow in size or blood flow is constricted. Larger hernias can be held within the abdominal cavity using a corset or girdle, but these are recommended as a temporary course of action. Use of a corset can cause skin damage and subsequent infection due to increased skin loss and rubbing, thus this mode of treatment is reserved for individuals with increased surgical risk.
In a 2012 study reported by the American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, a hockey player with a hernia in the groin was treated using a routine of exercises and stretching. The patient returned to full participation in athletic activity and reported no abdominal pain during play or abdominal palpation. Exercises focused on strengthening the transverse abdominus muscle, which protects the abdomen from increased inside pressure.
If the strangulated hernia is in the intestines, a blockage occurs and the abdomen swells, explains WebMD. The subsequent infection sometimes causes gangrene, intestinal perforation, shock or death. A truss, which consists of a belt with a pad to hold the hernia in place, should only be used as a temporary solution until surgery is performed.