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 people with hiatal hernia also have a condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Large hiatal hernias can be accompanied by symptoms that range in severity from mild to severe and include:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth

  • Belching

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Epigastric pain or burning, which can run from the stomach area up to the mouth

  • Heartburn

  • Indigestion

  • Nausea and vomiting

Symptoms of inguinal and femoral hernias

The hallmark symptom of inguinal and femoral hernias is a small bump or bulge in one or both sides of the groin or testicles (inguinal) or upper thigh (femoral). The bump may be associated with the following symptoms:

  • Burning or tenderness

  • Pain when lifting something heavy or when exercising

  • Pressure in the groin or thigh

  • Swelling or pain in the testicle area

Symptoms of an umbilical hernia

The main symptom of an umbilical hernia is a bulge around the belly button that is particularly visible when the affected infant, child or adult is upright or when he or she cries, coughs or strains. Umbilical hernias are typically painless.

Symptoms of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Symptoms of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia can be observed in the affected infant when still in the uterus or right after he or she is born. Prenatal signs of a hernia include:

  • Excessive amount of amniotic fluid

  • Ultrasound showing contents of abdominal cavity in the chest area

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition

When an inguinal, femoral, hiatal or umbilical hernia becomes incarcerated (trapped), it can lead to a strangulated hernia, in which the blood supply is cut off to the affected organ. This can result in serious or life-threatening complications, such as gangrene. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms:

  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure

  • Fever

  • Hernia that does not go back in place by itself or with gentle pressure

  • Inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Redness or discoloration of the hernia

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Sudden hernia pain

  • Testicle pain or swelling

  • Vomiting blood

Symptoms of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia that appear immediately after birth are serious or life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your newborn infant has any of the following symptoms:

  • Bluish coloring (cyanosis) of the lips, nails and skin

  • Concave abdomen

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing

  • Lopsided-looking chest

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)


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.... Read more about herniaintroduction


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


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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