Types of hernia: Typically, a hernia occurs in the abdomen or groin area when an organ protrudes through the tissue or muscle that surrounds it. It may appear as a peculiar lump or bulging that appears and disappears while performing various activities or in different positions. The bulge area is seen due to an opening or weakness in the tissue. Some people may experience symptoms such as pain or discomfort, while others may not have any symptoms at all. However, the majority of hernias will require surgical intervention to repair them.
As one age, the consistent strain on muscles may cause hernias to develop slowly over time. Hernias may also be caused by an injury, surgical procedure, or a congenital condition.
Some of the common locations of Hernia
- Lower chest or through the diaphragm
- In the groin area through the lower abdominal wall
- Through a weak opening from a previous abdominal surgery
- Front midline position of the abdomen
Types of hernia
- Hiatal Hernia
During your lifetime, you may develop a type of hernia called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the opening in your diaphragm, through which your esophagus passes, widens, allowing the upper part of your stomach to protrude through the opening and into your chest.
- Umbilical Hernia
An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through a hole in the abdominal wall close to the belly button. In most cases, umbilical hernias are present at birth.
- Diaphragmatic Hernia
A congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a major birth defect that arises when the diaphragm fails to fully close during fetal development. As the organs are still growing, this condition may cause abdominal organs to move upwards into the chest cavity, leading to lung compression.
- Inguinal Hernia
The most prevalent form of hernia is the inguinal hernia, which makes up 75% of all hernias. It is more prevalent in males or those assigned male at birth (AMAB). This type of hernia occurs when a section of the bowel protrudes into the inguinal canal, a pathway that runs down the inner thigh.
- Incisional Hernia
An incisional hernia may result when the tissue pushes through a weakened area in the abdominal wall from previous surgery. This is a common result of abdominal surgery.
- Femoral Hernia
This type of hernia less commonly occurs in the femoral canal, which is situated beneath the inguinal canal. It is characterized by the protrusion of fatty tissue.
Symptoms may not always be present with all types of hernias, and different types of hernias can cause varying symptoms. A clear indicator of a hernia is the appearance of a visible lump or bulge during certain movements or positions, which can disappear at other times. Additionally, one may experience sensations of pressure, a dull ache, or pinching when the hernia protrudes, which typically occurs during activities such as straining, lifting, laughing, or coughing.
Is hernia a serious health issue?
Although hernias are usually not severe, they have the potential to become serious. They can gradually worsen and become stuck in the hole they have pushed through. When this happens, it causes pain, and in extreme cases, tissue death due to lack of blood supply. As hernias tend to deteriorate over time, most people will require surgical intervention at some point to repair the hernia. Surgical intervention depends on the types of hernia.
When to see a surgical gastroenterologist?
It’s advisable to see a surgical gastroenterologist for any pain related to a hernia. A proper diagnosis by the surgical gastroenterologist is crucial because other medical conditions may be misinterpreted as hernia pain. Immediate medical attention should be sought if the hernia changes color, becomes numb, or causes symptoms such as fever, nausea, and vomiting.