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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Things to know about Hernia

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Dr. Tarun JhambGeneral Physician • 24 Years Exp.MD - Internal Medicine, MBBS
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Hernia is not life threatening, but is commonly experienced by a number of people. You will experience hernia when an organ pushes through the muscles or tissues surrounding them. A hernia can occur anywhere in the body. The most common areas affected by it are the abdominal area, upper thigh, groin and belly button. In most cases, a surgery is required to treat this condition.

There are 4 common types of hernias. These are:

  1. Inguinal hernia: This is the most common type of hernia and affects more men than women. It occurs when the intestines push through the lower abdominal wall into the inguinal canal. 
  2. Hiatal hernia: This commonly affects elderly people and occurs when the stomach pushes upwards through the diaphragm. It may also affect children if they are born with a congenital birth defect. 
  3. Umbilical hernia: This affects children and occurs when the intestine pushes through abdominal wall near the bellybutton. 
  4. Incisional hernia: This occurs after an abdominal surgery when the intestine pushes through the scar or other weak tissues. 

A hernia can develop overnight or over a period of time. It can be triggered by many factors that cause weakening of muscles and strain the body. 

Some of these are:

  1. Congenital defects such as the abdominal wall failing to close properly
  2. Age
  3. Persistent coughing
  4. Surgical errors or injuries
  5. Pressure on the abdomen caused by pregnancy
  6. Straining as a result of constipation
  7. Collection of fluid in the abdomen
  8. Heavy weight lifting
  9. Excess weight gain

If anyone in your family has a hernia, you are at a high risk of suffering from one as well. Being obese and smoking can also increase your risk. Cystic fibrosis can also indirectly trigger a hernia by causing a persistent cough. Sometimes a hernia has no symptoms. A bulge in the affected area is the most common symptom of a hernia. 

Some other symptoms that you may notice are:

  1. Pain in the affected area
  2. Weakness or pressure in the abdomen
  3. A burning or aching sensation in the affected area
  4. Acid reflux
  5. Chest pain
  6. Difficulty swallowing 

If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.


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