A hernia occurs when pressure in the abdomen pushes an organ or tissue through an opening or weak spot in muscle or fascia (connective tissue). The most common types of hernias occur in the inner groin, outer groin, upper stomach, belly button, or near an incision.
Causes of Hernia
Anything that creates increased pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia, such as strenuous lifting or exercises, diarrhea or constipation, and chronic coughing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or even persistent sneezing. Some people are born with muscle weakness that makes them more susceptible to hernias. Other risk factors include damage from an injury or surgery, pregnancy, fluid in the abdomen, aging, being overweight, and smoking.
Discover four hernia prevention tips from the experts at Muskegon Surgical Associates.
Types of Hernias
The different types of hernias are defined by where they occur in the body:
Inguinal hernias account for roughly 96% of all groin hernias. They occur when the intestine or bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal (a passageway in the abdominal wall). Inguinal hernias happen most often in men.
Incisional hernias, a protrusion of tissue at a surgical incision site, most often occur in older or overweight people after abdominal surgery. Strictly following doctor’s orders for post-surgery recovery can help prevent an incisional hernia.
Femoral hernias happen when the small intestines protrude through the canal that carries the femoral artery into the upper thigh. Women who are pregnant or obese are most likely to experience femoral hernias.
Hiatal hernias involve the upper part of the stomach and lower esophagus (food pipe) bulging into the chest cavity through the diaphragm, a muscle that typically separates the two parts of the body. Hiatal hernias can be caused by injury, changes as you age, or pressure in the belly from pregnancy, obesity, coughing, heavy lifting, or straining.
Umbilical hernias result from the small intestine passing through the abdominal wall near the belly button. These are common in newborn babies and can also occur in obese women or women who have had multiple children.
Symptoms of Hernia
The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge or lump in the affected area. Potential symptoms, depending on the hernia location, may include:
- pain when bending over, coughing, or lifting
- weakness, pressure, or a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen
- a burning, gurgling, or aching sensation at the sore spot
- a lump that continues to swell, increasing in size
- acid reflux, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing
- nausea or vomiting
MSA Experts Can Help
Hernias can swell and eventually become strangulated, cutting off the herniated organ or tissue from your body’s blood supply. It’s vital to take care of hernia at the first signs of discomfort.
The only long-term, permanent solution to any hernia is surgery. The experienced, skilled surgeons at Muskegon Surgical Associates provide laparoscopic and open surgical repair of hernias, choosing the technique that is most appropriate given the location of the hernia. In either case, the hernia is closed using sutures, mesh, or both. Surgery is performed under general anesthetic.
If you have symptoms of a hernia, don’t hesitate to contact us to make an appointment for a consultation.
Muskegon Surgical Associates