It is estimated that about 5 percent of the population has a hernia. 

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a condition characterized by an organ pushing through an opening in a muscle or tissue that holds it in place.

The abdomen is the most common site of the hernia, but it may also appear in other areas, including the belly button, upper thighs, and groin areas.

What causes it?

In many cases, a hernia develops as a result of strain and muscle weakness. Muscle weakness may be due to aging, chronic coughing, damage from an injury or surgery, or failure of the abdominal wall to close properly in the womb (congenital cause).

Factors that cause a strain on the body and increase your chance of developing a hernia, include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Constant constipation
  • Ascites or having fluid in the abdominal area
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Heavy lifting
  • Persistent coughing
  • Surgery in the area

Is your job causing your hernia?

Jobs that require heavy lifting may increase your risk of developing a hernia. This includes being a construction worker, furniture mover, stock clerk, and lumber yard worker.

If your job falls in that category, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having a hernia:

  • Don’t smoke or quit smoking
    Smokers develop hernias at a much higher rate compared to nonsmokers. Long-term smokers are more prone to having a chronic cough, which is a huge contributor to the development of a hernia.

    Smoking also weakens the abdominal wall, making smokers four times more likely to develop a recurring hernia.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    Being overweight increases the strain and pressure on the abdominal muscles. It makes them weaker and more prone to hernias.
  • Have a well-balanced diet
    Poor eating habits contribute to hernias in two ways. One, it can lead to obesity, which is another risk factor for hernias. Second, a diet high in processed food often leads to irregular bowel movement. Constant constipation strains the body, which increases your chance of having a hernia.
  • Observe proper body mechanics
    If your job entails heavy lifting, there’s one thing you can control to reduce your risk of having hernias – observing proper body mechanics. When lifting heavy objects, try to lift with your knees and not with your back. In that way, you reduce the unnecessary strain on your body.

If you do all of the above and still end up having a hernia, Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville offers different surgical treatment options for hernias. We also work with companies on hernia-related worker’s compensation cases.


For inquiries regarding assessment and different hernia treatments, visit our Hernia Center website at