What causes a ventral hernia?

A ventral hernia may be present at birth (“congenital” hernia) or develop over time. Congenital hernias generally result from incomplete or inadequate closure of part of the abdominal wall. Most umbilical hernias are congenital. Ventral hernias that develop over time do so in weakened areas of the abdominal wall.

Some types of hernias are seen to run in families.

What are the risk factors for ventral hernias?

A number of factors increase your risk of developing a ventral hernia, but you may have one or more of these risk factors without developing a ventral hernia. Risk factors for ventral hernias include:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic cough
  • Enlargement of the prostate or other conditions that can lead to straining to urinate
  • Family history of hernias
  • Lifting or pushing heavy objects
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Obesity
  • Overexertion
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

Reducing your risk of ventral hernias

It may be possible to minimize your risk of ventral hernias by following a few basic preventive measures including:

  • Avoiding lifting or pushing heavy objects
  • Avoiding overexertion
  • Avoiding straining to urinate
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Following recovery instructions and physical restrictions after surgery
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing constipation and avoiding straining to have a bowel movement
  • Quitting smoking

What is a ventral hernia?

A hernia is a protrusion of tissue from one area of the body through the wall that contains it. Hernias may be present at birth due to incomplete closure of a structure, or they may develop later as the result of increased pressure pushing against a weakened area of muscle or its fibrous sheath (fascia). Abdominal hernias are typically composed of a portion of the membranous sac that encircles ... Read more about ventral herniaintroduction


What are the symptoms of a ventral hernia?

You may experience no symptoms with a ventral hernia, or you may notice a bulge in the abdominal wall. The bulge can expand under increased abdominal pressure, such as when you cough or push or lift a heavy object. The area may also be painful.

Common symptoms of a ventral hernia

Common symptoms of a ventral hernia include:


How are ventral hernias treated?

Treatment of ventral hernias begins with regular medical consultation and care over the course of your life to ensure that your doctor has every opportunity to screen for various conditions, including risk of ventral hernias.

Once a ventral hernia has been diagnosed, the only cure is surgery, and surgery is typically performed once the hernia has increased in size or begun to caus... Read more about ventral herniatreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 11, 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: Digestive System

Did You Know?

View Source

Half of those with IBS have symptoms before what age?