What is a hernia?

A hernia is a condition in which an organ or other structure protrudes through a weak part of tissue or muscle. In some cases, a hernia can create a visible lump or bulge in the skin.

Many people do not understand what a hernia is. Hernias are classified according to the site of protrusion:

  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect that allows abdominal organs to protrude up into the chest cavity.

  • Femoral hernia is the protrusion of abdominal fat or part of the intestines through the abdominal muscles into the upper thigh area.

  • Hiatal hernia is the protrusion of a portion of the stomach through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. Hiatal hernia is also called a hiatus hernia.

  • Incisional hernia is a hernia that develops through a surgical incision.

  • Inguinal hernia is the protrusion of abdominal fat or part of the intestines through the abdominal muscles into the groin area (also called the inguinal canal). Inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia.

  • Umbilical hernia is the protrusion of part of the intestines or abdominal lining through the abdominal wall around the belly button. It most often occurs in infants ages six months and younger.

In some cases, a hernia may not cause any symptoms and treatment is not necessary. However, a hernia can be uncomfortable, painful, or even a medical emergency in some cases. Hernias are often readily treated through lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery.

Complications of a hernia can be serious and include incarcerated hernia and strangulated hernia. Seek prompt medical care if you suspect that you, or your infant, have a hernia. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize discomfort and the risk of complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have difficulty breathing or severe abdominal pain, or if your hernia becomes discolored or does not go back in place by itself or with gentle pressure.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

Hernia symptoms vary in nature and severity depending on the type of hernia and individual factors.

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia

Most people who have a hiatal hernia do not have symptoms and are unaware of the condition. When symptoms of hiatal hernia do occur, they can be related to acid reflux (regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus). This is because some peo... Read more about herniasymptoms

CAUSES

What causes a hernia?

The cause of a hernia depends on the type of hernia. In some cases, a hernia can be due to a congenital (present at birth) defect; whereas, in other cases, certain risk factors have been documented but the underlying cause is not known.

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is the protrusion of a portion of the stomach through an opening in the diaphragm. A hiatal hernia can be... Read more about herniacauses

TREATMENTS

How is a hernia treated?

Treatment varies depending on the type of hernia, the severity of symptoms, the presence of coexisting diseases, and your age and medical history. Treatment of hernia includes an individualized, multifaceted plan that minimizes the discomfort of symptoms and decreases the risk of developing complications, such as a strangulated hernia or respiratory distress.

Treatment of a hi... Read more about herniatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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