It’s a well-known fact in the medical world that having diabetes puts one at greater risk for post-surgery complications. However, the link between diabetes and hernia recurrence has been scarcely studied. In 2017, a study in Langenbeck’s Archives of Surgery, which was founded in 1860, and is the oldest medical journal of surgery, explored the link.
The study examined 162,713 inguinal hernia repairs on 143,041 Swedish patients. The percentage of patients with diabetes was roughly 4%. The researchers concluded that there was a significantly increased risk for postoperative complications up to 30 days after hernia surgery when adjusted for gender, age, BMI, history of liver disease, kidney disease or HIV/AIDS, type of hernia and surgical method.
If you have diabetes, the good news is that the researchers found no significant increased risk for reoperation, at least not for the nine years that the researchers analyzed the data.
The researchers concluded that the link between diabetes and post-hernia-surgical repair is a mixed bag. While diabetes seems to increase the risk for postoperative complications within 30 days of inguinal hernia surgery, especially for those with more advanced diabetes, having the disease does not seem to increase the long-term risk for having another operation because of recurrence.
Because 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, there’s a risk factor associated with obesity and developing a hernia. Being overweight increases both the strain and pressure on the abdominal muscles. This weakens the muscles, making them more prone to a hernia. Being overweight increases the chances that you’ll need a second hernia surgery (recurrence).
Having a recurrence is often more difficult to endure than a first hernia surgical repair. The surgery will likely involve a longer recovery time, and if you’re overweight, there’s a greater chance of developing an infection. Another reason to manage your weight is that a recurrence operation will likely take longer than your first hernia surgery.
To lose weight and keep blood sugar levels steady, and insulin levels low, eliminate starchy carbohydrates from your diet. What are starchy carbohydrates? Anything with white or wheat flour such as bread, pasta, rice, and baked goods. These foods rapidly convert into sugar and cause dramatic insulin spikes and blood sugar fluctuations. You should also minimize added sugars, which are now listed on food labels. Make sure you stay active. Gardening or walking every day is enough to prevent some unused blood sugar from being stored as fat.