Hernias are a common health concern in the United States. In fact, hernias occur in at least 15 per 1000 population (about 1.5%). Symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the type of hernia you have. You may experience abdominal swelling, a “heavy” feeling in your abdominal or groin area, discomfort, constipation, vomiting, and pain. Keep reading to learn about the differences between the 5 most common types of hernias.
Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. In fact, inguinal hernias will affect 27% of men and 3% of women at some point in their lives. Inguinal hernias occur when tissue pushes through a weakened area of the groin muscle. There may be many reasons for this occurrence – the groin muscle might not have closed properly after birth. It can also occur from lifting incorrectly or coughing. When the tissue pushes through the muscle wall, many times it creates a bulge in the groin area. Other symptoms of inguinal hernias can include a burning sensation in the groin area, pain, and discomfort.
When you have abdominal surgery, the chance of developing an incisional hernia post-surgery is about 5-15 in 100 people. Most incisional hernias occur within a year of the abdominal surgery. That’s why it’s so important to take it easy and keep recovery in mind after surgery. An Incisional Hernia occurs when tissue is pushed through an incision from a past surgery. Incisional hernias range from small and simple to large and complex. Risk factors also include being overweight, smoking, old age, and having other health issues that prevent quick healing. In the months following your abdominal surgery, be sure not to strain your abdominal muscles or move too quickly to avoid developing an incisional hernia. If an incisional hernia occurs, you may experience a lump near your surgery scar and pain or discomfort in the area.
Femoral hernias can typically be found below the groin in the thigh area. Femoral hernias are more difficult to detect during an examination because patients usually feel pain in their groin area, however, the hernia is below the groin. About 3% of all hernias are femoral and women are more likely to develop them than men. Causes of femoral hernias can include childbirth, chronic constipation, and coughing. Symptoms include fever, severe stomach pain, and nausea. However, some people don’t experience any symptoms.
Umbilical hernias occur when tissue ruptures through your abdominal wall near your belly button. Although umbilical hernias are more common in premature infants, they can also affect adults. You will know your infant has an umbilical hernia if they cry and you see a bulge near the belly button. When pressure is put on the abdominal wall near the belly button, an umbilical hernia can occur. According to Mayo Clinic, in adults, common causes are pregnancy, fluid in the abdominal cavity, and peritoneal dialysis to treat kidney failure.
A hiatus or hiatal hernia is when part of the stomach that pushes through the diaphragm and into the chest area. The most common causes of hiatal hernias are injuries or surgery in the stomach/chest area and persistent coughing, vomiting, constipation, and lifting heavy objects. Most people don’t have symptoms from a hiatal hernia, but some experience heartburn, chest pain, and acid reflux.
If you are having symptoms of a hernia, it’s important to not wait to see a doctor. Holding off on seeing a doctor can make hernias worse, larger, and enhance symptoms. Dr. Iraci of Groin & Pelvic Pain Institute has years of experience and provides innovative, hands-on solutions, designed to eliminate groin and pelvic pain. Dr. Iraci specializes in a variety of groin and pelvic pain issues, including inguinal hernia, obturator hernia, femoral hernia, umbilical hernia, hiatal hernia, nerve entrapments, athletic pubalgia (sports hernias), and more. Contact us today to book an appointment or video consultation and get you back on track to good health.
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