An abdominal hernia is a defect, or a hole, in the abdominal wall allowing inside tissue or an organ to bulge through. Internal organs such as the intestines can sometimes become obstructed and even strangulated through small hernias, cutting the oxygen and blood supply off to those areas. In these instances, medical attention should be sought immediately.
There are a number of different types of hernias commonly treated at Premier Surgical Associates.
Femoral: When the intestines push through the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh or outer groin, a femoral hernia occurs. This type of hernia is most common in women and like an umbilical hernia, women who are obese or pregnant are at the highest risk of developing a femoral hernia.
Hiatal: A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper stomach protrudes through the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes, called the hiatus.
Incisional: Located in the abdominal area, these hernias most often occur at the site of a previous abdominal surgery. Individuals who are inactive or do not heal properly after abdominal surgery are at risk for an incisional, or ventral hernia.
Inguinal: This hernia is found in the inner groin area and is the most common. It is most often found in men due to a natural weakness in the groin area. When the intestine or bladder protrude into the inguinal canal or through the abdominal wall in the groin area, it is considered an inguinal hernia.
Umbilical: Found in or around your belly button, the umbilical hernia is most commonly found in newborns and often resolves itself as the abdominal wall has time to close up properly in that area. This type of hernia is also common in women who are overweight or who have had multiple pregnancies. The hernia occurs when tissue, fat, or the small intestines pass through the abdominal wall near the belly button.
Depending upon which type of hernia you are experiencing, your signs and symptoms will differ. Some hernias do not present any symptoms and are only discovered during a thorough medical exam. Common symptoms of a hernia can include:
- Bulging in the abdominal area
- Severe cramping
Hernias are caused by an abdominal defect or weakness that allows an organ or tissue to protrude through the abdominal wall. Poor nutrition and smoking can contribute to a weakened abdominal wall and heighten your potential for a hernia. Anything that causes increased pressure in the abdomen can lead to a hernia including the following:
- Improper heavy lifting
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sharp blows to the abdomen
- Chronic cough
As with many medical conditions, genetics play a role in your risk for developing a hernia. If you are experiencing symptoms of a hernia, contact your primary care physician. If you have sudden pain that does not subside, discoloration of the bulge, excessive vomiting or constipation, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
To learn more about options for hernia treatment at Premier Surgical Associates visit our website.