>What is a Hernia?
- A hernia is a gap or space in the strong tissue that holds muscles in place. A hernia occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal muscle have weakened, resulting in a bulge or tear. In the same way that an inner tube pushes through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area of the abdominal wall to form a small balloon like sac. This can allow a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue to push into the sac. The hernia can cause discomfort, severe pain, or other potentially serious problems that could require emergency surgery.
- Both men and women can get a hernia.
- You may be born with a hernia (congenital) or develop one over time.
- A hernia does not get better over time, nor will it go away by itself. There are no exercises or physical therapy regimen that can make a hernia go away.
How Do I Know If I Have A Hernia?
- The common areas where hernias occur are in the groin, belly button (umbilical), and the site of a previous operation (incisional).
- It is usually easy to recognize a hernia. You may notice a bulge under the skin. You may feel pain or discomfort when you lift heavy objects, cough, strain during urination or bowel movements, or during prolonged standing or sitting. Other times a hernia may be detected by your doctor on a routine physical examination.
- The pain may be sharp and immediate or a dull ache that gets worse toward the end of the day.
- Severe, continuous pain, redness, and tenderness are signs that the hernia may be entrapped or strangulated. Another sign of this is if the bulge used to come and go, but now is stuck out. These symptoms are cause for concern and you should immediately contact your physician or surgeon.
What Causes a Hernia?
The wall of the abdomen has natural areas of potential weakness. Hernias can develop at these or other areas due to heavy strain on the abdominal wall, aging, injury, an old incision or a weakness present from birth. Anyone can develop a hernia at any age. Most hernias in children are congenital. In adults, a natural weakness or strain from heavy lifting, persistent coughing, difficulty with bowel movements or urination can cause the abdominal wall to weaken or separate.