A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place.
In many cases, it causes none or very few symptoms, although you may notice a swelling or lump in your abdomen or groin.
The lump can often be pushed back in or disappears when you lie down. Coughing or straining may make the lump appear.
All hernias are caused by a combination of pressure and an opening or weakness of muscle or fascia; the pressure pushes an organ or tissue through the opening or weak spot.
Muscle weakness can either be present at birth or occurs later in life.
- Lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Persistent coughing or sneezing
- Being obese or overweight
- Poor nutrition
- Undescended testicles
Types of hernia
1. Inguinal hernias
Inguinal hernias occur when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh.
This is the most common type of hernia and it mainly affects men because of a natural weakness in this area. It’s often associated with ageing and repeated strain on the abdomen.
2. Femoral hernias
A femoral hernia occurs when the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh.
Femoral hernias are most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese
3. Umbilical hernias
Umbilical hernias occur when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen near your belly button (navel).
This type of hernia can occurs mostly in babies if the opening in the abdomen through which the umbilical cord passes doesn’t seal properly after birth. It also commonly afflicts obese women or those who have had many children.
Hiatus hernias occur when part of the stomach pushes up into your chest by squeezing through an opening in the diaphragm (the thin sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen).
This type of hernia may not have any noticeable symptoms, although it can cause heartburn in some people.
It’s not exactly clear what causes hiatus hernias, but it may be the result of the diaphragm becoming weak with age or pressure on the abdomen.
5. Incisional hernias
It occurs where the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of a past abdominal surgery that hasn’t fully healed.
This type is most common in elderly or overweight people who are inactive after abdominal surgery.
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