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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Hernias

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Pain relief and hiatal hernia [posted 1/7/99]
Question:I am a 38 year old female who has recently been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. I have been taking 5 mg Propulsid 4 times a day, 150 mg Ranitidine 2 times a day, and 20 mg, Losec once a day for this condition. I have not had any relief from the severe pain and my physician has just prescribed percocet (5 and 325 mg) and Levsin 0.125 mg, both to be taken every 4 hours when needed for pain. I am extremely concerned taking all of these medications at the same time. Would I be better off just taking 20 mg Losec daily and the Levsin and Percocet when needed for pain? I would also like to know what the ideal treatment would be for pain caused by a hiatal hernia.

Answer: With all these meds I'd consider surgical fixes. Carafate might be another drug to consider.

Herniated disk treatment
Question: I have read the "pharmacy" version of side effects associated with cortisone (med-pak) treatment. Can you provide more information about any harmful effects for women of child-bearing years? My condition is moderate and I've tried everything from physical therapy to acupuncture over 6 months with no response. What is the long-term outlook for recovery from this condition? What is the likelihood that the cortisone would be effective?

Answer: Systemic cortisone is not usually tried with a herniated disc. Local steroid injections are commonly tried and are about 40% effective for the long term in my experience. 20-30% additionally will experience relief lasting to two or three months. Side effects from one or two injections are minimal and limited to infections around the injection site or local trauma from the injection.

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