If you have any bulge that is not supposed to be there, then it is a hernia.
A hernia is a tear on your abdominal muscle, that part of an organ pass through that tear, herniate and stick out to where it shouldn’t. There is a bulge in your groin area or in your abdomen. A hernia develops mostly on men. Most of the hernia types are not life-threatening but once the bulge is there, it stays there until it is surgically corrected. Except for incisional hernia or in congenital hernia, there is no specific reason it happens but risk increases with age and common in men. Below is the list of possible causes why muscle becomes weak.
Weak muscle wall common causes:
- congenital defect
- damage from bodily injury or a surgery
- coughing that’s chronic in nature
Muscle strain common causes:
- Heavyweight lifting
- Obesity, a sudden increase in weight
- Overexertion in bowel movement
- Chronic coughing or persistent sneezing
- Accumulation of excess fluid in the stomach
- Surgery in the abdomen or groin area
Hernia types can occur in the groin area, abdomen or after an incision of a surgical procedure.
This is the most common hernia type in the groin area and common to men than in women. Happens when the fat from the abdomen or intestines herniates at the lower abdominal wall into either side of the groin area or the inguinal. Not a dangerous hernia type but can give a discomfort when doing some movements such as bending, lifting and bowel movements exertion. I can be a direct or indirect inguinal hernia.
- Indirect inguinal hernias. This is a congenital defect in the abdominal wall.
- Direct inguinal hernias. Common among adult males due to the weakened abdominal muscle. Repetitive straining activities will make the abdominal muscles weak with age.
Risk factors for direct hernia type:
- Adult males aging 40 and up,
- An inguinal hernia family history,
- If you had abdominal surgery
Although rare, if not treated inguinal hernia lead to the following complications:
- Incarcerated hernia. An incarcerated hernia is when the fats or herniated tissue is stocked up and cannot move back to its place. Not life-threatening but when it obstructs the bowel then possibly lead to strangulation.
- Strangulated hernia. Strangulation is a serious condition if not treated because there is a cutting off blood supply to the intestine. This is an emergency condition that needs emergency medical treatment.
Common symptoms of Inguinal Hernia:
- Pain in the lower abdomen when lifting or bending or coughing,
- Abdomen felt heavy, bulge area has a burning and aching sensation
This is an uncommon groin hernia type and occurs frequently in women than in men because of female anatomy in which pelvis is wider. Occurs when a weak muscle wall of the groin or inner thigh that an internal tissue push and exit on it forming a bulge. Most do not have other symptoms aside from the bulge though it may be accompanied by nausea, stomach pain and vomiting in some cases.
There is a risk of complications and it is life-threatening if not treated immediately. The complications happen when it becomes trapped or strangulated, will lead to infection as the intestinal tissue is starved of blood supply. At strangulation cases, the bowel can only survive roughly up to 12 hours. If you have any of the complications below, you need emergency medical care.
Symptoms of Femoral Hernia Complications:
- Acute stomach and groin pain,
- Redness and extreme tenderness around the bulge
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate (> 100 beats in a min)
This hernia type is common to babies but can also occur in adults. It is painless in children but very painful in adults. Happens to babies when the abdominal muscle opening that connects umbilical cord does not close completely.
This hernia type occurs when a stomach fat pushes out through a weakened wall of the middle of the abdomen, between the breastbone and the umbilicus area. A bulge on the epigastric region is a common condition for adults. An epigastric hernia is also called ventral hernia.
This hernia type is also called lateral ventral hernia, is a hernia through the Spigelian fascia. Occurs in the lower abdomen and a rare hernia type with a statistic of .01% of abdominal hernias.
This hernia type is named after a hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm between the chest and the stomach. In a hiatal hernia, the bulge moves upwards from the top of the abdomen to the chest cavity. A hiatal hernia type is either a sliding hiatal hernia or a para esophageal hernia.
- Sliding hiatal hernia. This is the common type of hiatal hernia. A portion of the stomach goes upwards through the diaphragm to the chest during inspiration, descends during swallowing.
- Para-esophageal hiatal hernia. The gap in the phrenoesophageal membrane is larger and the herniated part of the stomach stays into the chest.
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia:
- Food and fluid intake regurgitation
- Acid reflux
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in vomit
- Possible gastrointestinal bleeding signs like black stools
This is the third common hernia type that accounts for at least 20% of abdominal hernias. This hernia type commonly occurs in the middle of the abdomen and classified as a ventral type. An organ or tissue protrudes across a scar or incision from previous abdominal surgery. It can develop soon after the surgery, or it may take years.
Symptoms of Incisional Hernia:
- A bulge at or near the incision,
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain around the area
- Thin narrow stool
Complications of incisional hernia are bowel obstruction that can lead to a strangulated hernia, a life-threatening complication. Intense pain and redness around the bulge is a call out for an emergency medical treatment.
There are many hernia types, a bulge on places they are not supposed to be can be bothersome and sometimes painful. One thing is for sure, they don’t just go away without surgery.