alsoran runners Bust Gut

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A “bust gut” is a very descriptive term for a hernia.  Basically it is when your intestine breaks through weak muscle wall in your gut.  A visible lump appears where the break occurs.  The hernia is classified depending on where in the gut the break occurs.  In my case (twice), the break has occurred in the femoral region of my groin, once left, once right.  This apparently is a common hernia for women where weakness occurs in the muscle wall as a result of pregnancy/s.  This is my layman’s understanding so best you seek proper medical advice if you suspect you have one!

A hernia is relatively harmless but in some cases it can be potentially life threatening if strangulation occurs and the femoral artery gets blocked in the process.  It is important to know that a hernia cannot repair itself.  Once the gut is bust, it can only be repaired by surgery.  During surgery the intestine is pushed back to where it belongs and the muscle wall is then stitched up.  In some cases a “mesh” lining will be placed in the muscle wall to strengthen it.  The procedure is done under general anaesthetic and it’s pretty straight forward (apparently).

While the hernia is present it is not particularly painful.  It’s more like a tenderness around the lump area.  The only real discomfort I had was that the rogue bit of intestine was pressing against my bladder wall which resulted in me having a constant urge to wee!  In my particular case I was in the UK at the time and was only returning home in 2 weeks.  During this time I was still able to run daily (10 kays).  I was mindful of the hernia and took things easy in the meantime.  On return to Cape Town I was able to run the Cango Marathon* and Smitswinkel 50km* before undergoing surgery the following week to repair the hernia.  I was back on the road in 10 days and ran the 2 Oceans 3 weeks after the operation.

The key thing I would say is to take things easy after surgery as the anaesthetic seems to stay in the body for quite a while and if I’m not mistaken there’s a lot of “muscle relaxant” in that stuff!  At no point did I let this surgery setback affect my focus for Comrades.  Much like any other injury, it was something I had to deal with in my preparation for Comrades. 

* I had “permission” from my physician to do these two runs as long as I took them easy and was mindful of any sudden pain, in which case I was instructed to get myself to the hospital in a hurry!

Key words: hernia, bust gut,
Internal links: focus, injury,
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2010