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Every year, more than half a million hernia repairs are performed in the United States. A hernia occurs when inner layers of abdominal muscle become weakened. The lining of the abdomen then bulges out into a small sac, and part of the intestine or abdominal tissue may enter the sac. Hernias occur most commonly in the groin (inguinal hernia), the navel (umbilical hernia), and at the incision site of a previous surgery.

A hiatal, or diaphragmatic, hernia occurs when the lower part of the esophagus and a portion of the stomach slide up through the esophageal hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes before it reaches the stomach. In a small percentage of cases, the junction of the esophagus and stomach remains in place, but a portion of the stomach rolls up and through the esophageal hiatus alongside the esophagus.

Some people with hernias remain relatively free from symptoms. But a hernia can cause severe pain and other potentially serious problems (e.g., infection, bowel obstruction). Surgery is the only way to repair them, because they do not resolve on their own.

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An incisional hernia causes a bulge in the abdominal area. Often, this type of hernia is painless, but may be tender and can cause discomfort during any type of physical strain, such as lifting heavy objects, coughing, or straining during bowel movements. The bulge may disappear when lying down, and be more visible when standing up.

Symptoms include pain, which may be a sharp or dull ache that feels worse towards the end of the day. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and the inability to have a bowel movement. Continuous or severe discomfort, or nausea related to the bulge are signs that the hernia may be entrapped or strangulated. If you have these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician immediately.

Types of Hernia

For information on a specific type of hernia see : -

1 .Inguinal hernia :-

Inguinal hernia appears as a bulge in the groin or scrotum. This type is more common in men than women.

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  • Family history of hernias
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Undescended testicles
  • Extra weight
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic constipation, straining to have bowel movements
  • Enlarged prostate, straining to urinate


  • Groin discomfort or groin pain aggravated by bending or lifting
  • A tender groin lump or scrotum lump
  • A nontender bulge or lump in children


Most hernias can be pushed back into the abdominal cavity. However, if it cannot be pushed back through the abdominal wall, this can lead to a strangulated loop of intestine. If left untreated, this portion of the intestine dies because of loss of blood supply.

Almost all hernias require surgery, preferably before complications occur, to reposition the herniated loop of intestine and secure the weakened muscles in the abdomen.

2. Femoral hernia : -

A femoral hernia is the sticking out of a part of the intestine through a weakening in the abdominal wall near the thigh.

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