Hernias are one of the more painful, grating afflictions that your body can experience. While hernias can only be fully-removed via surgery, they can be treated and prevented in many different ways. Knowing how to keep your hernia under control is key to living a comfortable life and to the healing process. For those of you that are suffering from hernia-related pain, here are six key ways to treat (and even cure) a hernia:

1) Avoid Inflammation-Inducing Foods

Coffee, alcohol, overly-sugary foods, pizza, and other food products that cause conditions such as acid reflux can also create inflammation in your body that will prove harmful (especially in the case of hernias). There are many other poor side effects that happen with the overconsumption of these foods aside from hernias as well, so protect your gut and more by avoiding consuming them too often. Especially avoid consuming them on an empty subject, as this will severely increase the likelihood that they could end up forming a hernia.

2) Maintaining a Healthy Weight

When you’re overweight, you’re more likely to develop a hernia (and existing ones can be exacerbated by excessive body weight). To help treat your hernia’s harmful and painful effects, be sure to maintain a healthy weight at all times. Not only will this be useful in your fight against hernias, but it will keep you protected from many other painful bodily afflictions as well. If that doesn’t convince you, the fact that hernias can actually cause strangulation symptoms if you’re severely overweight should help to sell you on the importance of this step. Even if you keep a healthy weight and diet, checking to see if you might be developing a hernia is important now and then (and some hospitals provide free hernia screenings).

3) Hernia Belts

Hernia belts can be worn to strengthen your muscles in key areas that are affected by hernias (and assist with both prevention and treatment). Especially for some of the surgery-related treatments, we’ll talk about later, hernia belts can be useful during the healing process, so be sure to ask your doctor if a hernia belt is right for you if you end up developing a painful hernia.

4) Eating a Fiber-Rich Diet

Hernias are often caused by poor diets that disrupt the lining of your stomach, esophagus and other key parts of your body that interact with your food. Not only will a diet that avoids over-consumption of particularly grating substances that we mentioned before (such as coffee, alcohol and hyper-sugary food) help you keep hernias from forming, but some of these substances being cut down on will help you maintain a healthy weight as well. Where you can really do some major work, however, is in how much fiber you’re taking in. Fiber-rich diets will both help prevent the formation of hernias, and work toward lessening their effects after they’ve formed, so eat up!

5) Open Surgical Repair

Although hernias can be treated to the point they no longer cause major issues, the only way to completely eliminate a hernia is through surgery. Depending on the size, severity, and symptoms of your hernia, your doctor will decide whether or not surgery is actually needed to deal with your hernia.

The first type of hernia surgery is called open surgical repair. This process involves using sutures, a hernia mesh, or surgical glue to repair hernias after they have been surgically treated. The procedure tends to be quick and easy. However, there is a small chance of complications involving the process that your doctor will go over with you (but it’s nothing when compared with the pain and disruption caused by hernias that are severe enough to cause a need for surgery in the first place).

6) Laparoscopic Repair

The second type of surgical repair that is used to treat hernia is a bit more complex and is referred to as laparoscopic repair. While the process is less effective, it is known to cause more frequent instances of both scarring and infection, so going with a medical doctor who specializes in the procedure is highly recommended if you go this route.

But what exactly is laparoscopic repair? Simply put, it’s similar to open surgery, but is done via a small camera that’s lit up and attached to a tube. Using another small incision, this tool kit is used to do a quicker surgery to cure and repair your hernia. During the process, your abdomen will be inflated with gas, that way your surgeon can both see better during the surgery, and so they have more room to work. Thankfully, the procedure is done under a general anesthetic.

Hernias Do Not Have to Rule Your Life

There are plenty of treatments, precautions, and exercises that can provide hernia prevention (and some of them can cure the hernia altogether). However, the best way to live is under a lifestyle that will prevent these pesky, painful abrasions from forming in the first place. As anyone who has experienced a hernia before will tell you, it’s one of the most painful common afflictions you’re likely to experience during your lifetime.