Hernias are caused by straining. Straining can occur when you lift, cough, urinate, or experience constipation. Long-term smokers frequently develop a chronic cough, which is a common cause of hernias. Smokers develop hernias at a higher rate than nonsmokers.
Smoking causes a decreased rate of collagen formation. This is due to the effect of nicotine, which weakens the abdominal wall. Patients who smoke are four times more likely to develop a recurrent hernia as a result of the effect smoking has on wound healing.
Infection is a rare complication after hernia surgery except in the case of smokers. Smokers are more likely to develop post-operative infections than nonsmokers. We recommend that all smokers stop smoking prior to hernia surgery to prevent this dreaded complication.