'Listen to our bodies': Denise Richards opens up after emergency hernia surgery

·Lifestyle & Features Editor
Denise Richards. Image via Rich Fury/Getty Images and DeniseRichards/Instagram.
Denise Richards. Image via Rich Fury/Getty Images and DeniseRichards/Instagram.

Denise Richards is thanking her husband for helping her after she underwent surgery for four painful hernias.

The “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star required a six-hour emergency procedure to repair multiple hernias after she tried hard to ignore her symptoms.

“My hubby posted this and I need to actually thank him for taking such good care of me,” Richards captioned a set of photos that show her in hospital and post-surgery. “This was a couple months ago and turned out to be a good lesson for me to always listen to my body.”

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The 48-year-old mother of three admitted that she initially tried to “be strong and power through.” Ultimately, she learned she had two femoral (thigh) hernias and two inguinal (groin) hernias.

“I thought the pain and my other symptoms would just go away,” she said. “They did not and got a lot worse...I waited way too long and didn’t even tell my husband how bad I was feeling (I know I was stupid).”

Denise Richards (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Denise Richards (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Hernias occur when internal organs or other body parts protrude through weak spots in the wall of muscle containing them. They occur most often within the abdomen, the upper part of the thigh or groin area, and require surgery to put everything back into place, and reinforce the weakened area with sutures or mesh.

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According to the University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery, femoral hernias are 10 times more likely to occur in women due to the wider pelvic bone structure. They occur lower in the groin area, at the femoral canal, located in the upper area of the thigh, and can be caused by aging and repeated physical exertion such as heavy lifting, strain while going to the bathroom or frequent coughing.

Image via Denise Richards/Instagram.
Image via Denise Richards/Instagram.

Although less common in women, inguinal hernias are the most common form of hernias that occur slightly higher in the groin area below the pubic bone. While they can still cause serious complications, they pose less of a health risk than femoral hernias, which require emergency surgery, but can still become strangulated, and cut off blood flow to surrounding areas. Immediate medical attention should be sought if nausea, vomiting, fever, intense pain, red or purple discolouration or constipation occurs.

Richards, now fully healed, said the experience humbled her to realizing “powering through” isn’t the best way to approach pain. She added, “[You] gotta always listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves.”

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