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Potential Epigastric Hernia

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  • Potential Epigastric Hernia

    I was squatting last Tuesday (six days ago), and after finishing my last set with 415, I took my belt off and felt a tenderness and agitation about an inch above my belly button and slightly to the right. I do not recall a popping. It was not very painful either, but I thought to myself, "What the hell is that?" What concerned me was that I felt a tangible, yet small, lump there which was tender to the touch. As I walked around the gym the best way to describe it was not pain, but moreso that I was "aware of it." It was only tender to the touch, and not when I flexed or jumped or moved around (unless I bent over and my stomach rubbed it, then it would feel tender like somebody poked it). Still, on a scale of 1-10 it was a 2. I finished my workout, benched 325 for 3 with no pain, and then went to see my doctor afterwards. The doctor felt the area and said that he was not convinced that I had a hernia. He said his reasoning was this: It was not squishy feeling, but a bit harder than that (but not rock solid), It was not able to be pushed back in or moved around, the area being uncommon for most weightlifters (most being inguinal, testicular, etc.) and that I was not in excruciating pain. He said that with a hernia, if he was not able to push it back in, then that would mean it was incarcerated. However, since I was not showing symptoms of strangulation (extreme pain, nausea, trouble with bowel movements or blood in stool, area being purple), that he was not certain if it was a hernia. He pretty much told me he did not think it was. I tried to ask him them what he thought it could be, because I told him I lift heavy weights and that it is a big part of my life and that I was planning to compete soon. He told me that possibly, since the area is close to where my weight belt buckles, that perhaps I jammed the buckle into my abdomen at the bottom of the squat or the belt pinched me and caused a hematoma of the abdominal wall, or maybe it was a cyst or a bad ingrown hair and not to worry about it. He did not recommend that I get a CT Scan and expose myself to the radiation it causes for something he was pretty sure was not a hernia. I asked him if I could lift still, and he said as long as there is no pain, and if I ever felt extreme pain then I should go directly to the ER because that would mean it indeed was a strangulated hernia.

    I told him that I was not thrilled about accepting an "I am not sure" answer from him because of my powerlifting lifestyle. I was afraid if I perhaps went in the next day to deadlift and it WAS a hernia, that I could potentially strangulate it, which can be fatal. He said the only real thing he could do if I was that concerned was give me the CT scan (he said he does not do ultrasound). So I went for the scan the next day just to be certain so I could rule it out of my mind. I had the scan done last Thursday, and have not received word that the doctor got it back yet, but they told me if they thought it was anything severe that they would have called me by now. After the CT scan on Thursday, I went in and pulled 540 for a triple @ 8 and then pressed 225 for 3 @8 and had no pain. I did experience some discomfort with rows because I was bending over and my stomach was rubbing the area, but no "pain" and I finished the workout. I trained again Saturday as well with no pain and did some beltless pause squats. It has been six days, and I cannot be sure if the lump went down at all, the outer area of skin is still a tad red (partially because I may have been poking at it too much). My mother said she feels like it went ever-so-slightly down, but I am not really sure of that.

    I am still uncertain as to what it is, but my biggest fear is that perhaps it is just a tiny bit of fat that has poked through the abdominal wall (possibly the beginnings of a hernia) and, while there are currently no organs popping through which is perhaps why there is no pain, that one day when I am lifting it is going to turn into an issue and I am going to have to get emergency surgery. If I bend all the way back like I am going to stretch my abs and I flex, I feel no pain, and the small lump feels like it is a part of the ab muscle almost. It is not moving around, and is still tender to the touch, although not as much as when it initially happened. It seems odd to me that my doctor did not seem to think it was anything, and I do not feel pain lifting heavy, but touching it and sitting around I am still "aware" that it is there. It is very small, probably the size of a dime, only its oval shaped. It also is not visibly bulging and can only be felt if it is touched. It almost feels like a mosquito bit only connected to the abs. This does not seem to be the common hernia case that I have read about in lifters either, which makes it a little more strange. This unknown aspect is killing me and I am unsure what to do from this point on. Many of these doctors do not lift, so the whole, "go home, rest, do not do anything that hurts, etc." advice that may work for non-active, average adults who do not lift is annoying advice for me to hear from a medical professional. I want answers! haha. I know that at this point I suppose I have to wait for the scan results (which I have read do not even pick up many small hernias anyway and only had a 25% success rate in finding them)!

    I know you guys are unable to diagnose people over the internet, but I have already gotten a scan and seen a doctor. I am just wondering from a lifter's perspective if you have any sort of gut feeling that it may or may not sound like a hernia.

  • #2
    UPDATE: Scan showed it was not a hernia but rather a hematoma of the abdominal wall. All is well! Doctor said nothing to worry about