A hernia is a medical condition that is caused when a tissue is pushed from within and protrudes through the wall of the muscles holding it. Hernias mainly occur in the abdomen, but it can also appear in the groins and the thighs.
Hernias can sometimes show symptoms over a period of time. Other times, it could be a medical emergency.
Some of the key factors which commonly lead to hernia are:
- Chronic cough
- Damage at the site of any previous surgery
- Lifting heavy weights
- Multiple pregnancies
- Chronic constipation
The chances of having a hernia become more as a person increases in age. Hernias mainly occur in people of the age group of 50-75.
There are six major types of hernia that can occur in an adult.
Inguinal hernia – An inguinal hernia occurs when the intestine fat or portion of the intestine bulges through the walls of the lower stomach. As the name suggests, the hernia that bulges in this case, goes through the inguinal canal. The tissue of the intestine or part of the intestine protrudes through nearby weak abdominal muscles.
This type of hernia can occur in both men and women. An inguinal hernia can easily be identified by its appearance.
Common symptoms of an inguinal hernia include:
- Burning sensation in the abdomen
- Sharp pain in the bulge area
- Pain in the groin
- Pain when the person bends or coughs
An inguinal hernia may occur due to heredity reasons, premature birth, prior inguinal hernia, multiple pregnancies or when the person is overweight.
Incisional hernia – As the name goes, an incisional hernia occurs when the site of a previous incision doesn’t heal completely. They mainly develop after abdominal surgery.
The most common factor which can help in identifying an incisional hernia is a bulge in or near the incision site. A person suffering from incisional hernia will often have fever, get a feeling of vomiting or nausea, feel abdominal pain and discomfort, have rapid heartbeats, and also suffer from constipation and diarrhea.
An incisional hernia occurs when a person puts too much pressure in the abdomen where a previous incision has been done or undergoes another incision before the previous one completely heals.
An infection in the incision site, diabetes, smoking, and obesity are some of the risk factors which can drastically increase the chances of this type of hernia in a person.
Femoral hernia – Femoral hernia is not among the most common types of hernia, but it is also not unheard of. When the tissues inside the abdomen push and protrude through the femoral canal, the condition is known as a femoral hernia. A femoral hernia can be identified through a bulge that appears near the groin or thigh.
The femoral canal, where this type of hernia mainly occurs, is located in the groin, just below the inguinal ligament. Women suffer from femoral hernia more than men.
A femoral hernia is often caused due to childbirth or multiple pregnancies, chronic constipation, excessive weight lifting, obesity, or an enlarged prostate.
A femoral hernia is comparatively smaller in size than an inguinal or an incisional hernia. Hence, it cannot be easily identified by any appearance. In many cases, there might not be any bulge. However, a person with femoral hernia will suffer from sudden pain in the groin and stomach, a sense of nausea or vomiting.
Hiatal hernia – In the human body, the diaphragm separates the chest from the stomach. When the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm up into the chest, the condition is known as hiatal hernia. The opening is called hiatus, and hence the name.
A small hiatal hernia doesn’t cause any major symptoms or any problems. But, if the hernia grows bigger in size, there are chances that acid and food could back up in the esophagus which could lead to major heartburn. This is known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Other common symptoms of hiatal hernia include – abdominal pain, difficulty in swallowing food, shortness in breath, vomiting accompanied with blood, regurgitation of food into the mouth, and passing of black color stools.
Umbilical hernia – When part of tissues or muscles pushes through a weak spot near the belly button, the condition is known as umbilical hernia. This type of hernia is easily identified and is treatable; if left untreated, it could lead to serious health problems, although that doesn’t happen very commonly.
An umbilical hernia is very common in newborns and infants, but it can also happen in adults. Babies who are pre maturely born and women who have multiple pregnancies are at a bigger risk of suffering from an umbilical hernia. This type of hernia does not show any serious painful symptoms. However, in obese people, it could be a risk factor.
An umbilical hernia looks like an additional lump in the navel. If paid attention, it can be easily felt while crying, coughing, passing urine, or laughing loudly.
A person with an umbilical hernia would often have a tendency of vomiting. The bulge might swell up then and now. Most people push the bulge into the abdomen, but that cannot treat the disease anyway.
Epigastric hernia – The upper abdomen in the human body which is located just above the stomach, is known as epigastrium. When lumps of tissues or muscles bulge out through the epigastrium, the condition is known as an epigastric hernia.
The size of this type of hernia is generally very small and can be present in anyone since the time of birth. Both children and grown-ups can have this type of hernia.
Often, a bump tends to occur in places near the breastbone or below the sternum when one suffers from an epigastric hernia. The person will feel tenderness and constant pain in and around the epigastrium. A person can have more than one epigastric hernia at a time.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with an epigastric hernia should refrain from lifting heavy weights, indulging in severe physical labor, intensive sports, maintain a healthy lifestyle and a balanced weight.
By Pristyn Care
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