A hernia can be a real pain. A hernia is a common problem. It causes a localized bulge in the abdomen or groin. It can often be harmless and pain-free, but at times it can bring discomfort and pain. But really, what is a hernia?
A hernia can be a real pain.
A hernia is a common problem. It causes a localized bulge in the abdomen or groin. It can often be harmless and pain-free, but at times it can bring discomfort and pain.
But really, what is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when there is a weakness or hole in the peritoneum, the muscular wall that usually keeps abdominal organs in place. This defect in the peritoneum allows organs and tissues to push through, or herniate, producing a bulge. The lump may disappear when the person lies down, and sometimes it can be pushed back. Coughing may make it reappear.
Some common facts of hernias include:
- They often produce no troublesome symptoms, but abdominal complaints may signal a serious problem.
- They are usually straightforward to diagnose, simply by feeling and looking for the bulge.
- Treatment is a choice between watchful waiting and corrective surgery, either via an open or keyhole operation.
- Inguinal hernia surgery is more common in childhood and old age, while the likelihood of femoral hernia surgery increases throughout life.
They can commonly be found in the following areas:
- Groin A femoral hernia creates a bulge just below the groin. This is more common in women. An inguinal hernia is more common in men. It is a bulge in the groin that may reach the scrotum.
- Upper part of the stomach A hiatal or hiatus hernia is caused by the upper part of the stomach pushing out of the abdominal cavity and into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm.
- Belly button A bulge in this region is produced by an umbilical or periumbilical hernia.
- Surgical scar Past abdominal surgery can lead to an incisional hernia through the scar.
With the exception of an incisional hernia (a complication of abdominal surgery), in most cases, there is no obvious reason for a hernia to occur. The risk of hernia increases with age and occurs more commonly in men than in women.
They can be congenital (present at birth) or develop in children who have a weakness in their abdominal wall.
Activities and medical problems that increase pressure on the abdominal wall can lead to a hernia. These include, but are not limited to:
- Lifting heavy items
- Persistent cough
- Poor nutrition
- Physical exertion
- Enlarged prostate
- Straining to urinate
- Being overweight or obese
- Abdominal fluid
- Straining on the toilet
- Undescended testicles
Worried you may have a hernia that needs attention? Make an appointment with your doctor today, to come have it checked out.