How to make your own truss for a hernia

A hernia occurs when the abdominal wall weakens and then tears or bulges, allowing the inner abdominal lining to push through and form a bulge or rounded sac. Sometimes, abdominal or intestinal tissue can slip into the sac as well, causing pain and serious health issues.

Hernias usually occur in the groin or abdomen, or around the belly button, and are caused by excessive strain--such as from lifting--or a natural weakness.

While surgery is the only long-term solution for a hernia, a truss can be used to alleviate pain in the short term. This is a belt or pad worn over the hernia to keep the abdominal tissue from slipping into the sac. While these can be purchased online or at a medical supply store, you can make your own with a few supplies that you may have on hand.

See a doctor if you believe you have a hernia. Symptoms include painful swelling or bulges in the abdomen or groin, and pain when coughing, lifting or having a bowel movement. The bulge will disappear when you are lying down. It is important to have a doctor properly diagnose your condition and ensure you do not have a "strangulated" or twisted hernia, or an "incarcerated" or trapped hernia; these are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Remove any clothing that covers the hernia. The truss needs to be applied directly against the skin to provide a proper amount of pressure.

Hold the compression wrap around your waist and lie down on your back, either on a bed or on the floor.

Place the folded washcloth or medical pad directly over the hernia.

Pull one end of the compression wrap around the washcloth or pad so that it cannot slip out of place. Slowly stand and wind the wrap around your body, pulling it taut so that the cloth or pad is pushed tightly against the hernia.

Fasten the compression wrap with the supplied clips, making sure they are attached securely and will not loosen easily.

Bend and move gently to check the pressure of the pad and the tightness of the wrap. While you want both to be firmly in place, holding the hernia in, you do not want it to be so tight that normal movement is uncomfortable or painful.