According to the Food and Drug Administration, hernia repair is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. Over one million American undergo some type of hernia surgery annually. An abdominal wall hernia is a weakness or hole in the abdominal muscles through which organs or tissue may protrude. Any person of any age can have a hernia.
Types of Hernias
Inguinal – Located near the inner groin, inguinal hernia are the most common type of hernia. They are especially prevalent in men because of a natural weakness in this area.
Femoral – Occurs in the outer groin and is most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese.
Incisional or Ventral – Results from an incompletely healed incision at the site of a previous abdominal surgery. Incisional hernia occur most often in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.
Umbilical – Located near the navel, umbilical hernia are common in newborns, obese women or those who have had many children.
Hiatal – Occurs when the upper stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes. For more information please visit our Acid Reflux webpage.
The signs and symptoms of hernia depend on the type of hernia. Some hernias don’t cause any symptoms, but are discovered during medical exams. Some common symptoms include:
- A bulge under the skin in the groin or other abdominal area
- A burning or aching sensation at the bulge
- Groin pain or discomfort, especially when bending over, coughing or lifting
- Groin weakness or pressure
Sudden pain, discoloration of the bulge, vomiting and constipation can be signs of “strangulation”. This occurs when the intestines or abdominal tissue becomes trapped in the weakened muscle layer. This condition can cut off the blood supply and requires immediate medical attention.
Hernia Patient Resources
Download Patient Education from the American College of Surgeons: