A hernia occurs when an organ or structure squeezes through a weak spot in the tissues normally containing it. The most common types of hernia are inguinal (inner groin), incisional (resulting from an incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (belly button), and hiatal (upper stomach). The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object.
What Causes Hernia?
Anything that causes an increase in pressure in the abdomen can cause a hernia, including:
Lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles
Diarrhea or constipation
Straining to pass urine
Persistent coughing or sneezing
Types of hernia:
Inguinal hernia In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin. There are two types of inguinal hernias. Direct - Develops over time due to straining and is caused by weakness in the abdominal muscles. Most common in adult males. Indirect - Caused by a defect in the abdominal wall that will typically have been present since birth. Most common in children, it affects up to 5 percent of newborns and up to 30 percent of premature babies. Often, it is discovered in the first year of life but can remain undetected until adulthood.
Incisional hernia In an incisional hernia, the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery. This type is most common in women as well as elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.
Hiatal hernia A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle separating your abdomen and chest. A small hiatal hernia usually doesn't cause problems, but a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn. A very large hiatal hernia might require surgery.
Ventral hernia Ventral hernias are a type of abdominal hernia. They may develop as a defect at birth, resulting from incomplete closure of part of the abdominal wall, or develop where an incision was made during an abdominal surgery, occurring when the incision doesn't heal properly. Ventral hernias cause a bulge or lump in the abdomen, which increases in size over time. In some cases, the lump may disappear when you lie down, and then reappear or enlarge when you put pressure on your abdomen, such as when you stand, or lift or push something heavy.
Femoral hernia A femoral hernia may occur through the opening in the floor of the abdomen where there is space for the femoral artery and vein to pass from the abdomen into the upper leg. Because of their wider bone structure, femoral hernias tend to occur more frequently in women
There are several main ways that a doctor can see if a person has an inguinal hernia. These are through physical exam, imaging tests such as abdominal x-rays, CT scan or ultrasound.
Treatment for hernia can be rendered through open hernia repair or laparoscopic hernia repair. Most of these hernias are operated by keyhole surgery now and have quick painless recovery. Daycare hernia repair is now available wherein you can come in the morning, get your hernia repaired and return home by evening. Only 8 hours of hospitalization is required. Your doctor will guide you for the exact procedure depending on the type of hernia you have. Most people recover more quickly from laparoscopic hernia repair than open hernia repair.
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Know Dr. Patta Radhakrishna
Dr.Patta Radhakrishna is a renowned Surgical Gastroenterologist and a Laparoscopic Surgeon in Chennai.