Hernias are caused when part of an organ or fatty tissue squeezes past a weak point in muscular or connective tissue. There are several different types of hernias, all of them having common symptoms to look out for.
The common hernias are differentiated either by where they happen or their cause. These include inguinal hernia (in the inner groin), incisional (caused by a cut or incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (through the belly button,) and hiatal (upper stomach).
We’ll take a closer look in particular at inguinal and hiatal hernias, two of the more common types encountered.
Hiatal Hernia: What to Look Out For
A hiatal hernia occurs through the upper stomach, typically in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that’s vital for breathing. The diaphragm normally has a hole in it to allow the esophagus to pass through it to the stomach. In a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach bulges past this opening and into the chest cavity. There won’t be a physical lump observed, but symptoms may include heartburn, chest pain, or a sour taste.
Hiatal hernias are most commonly seen in pregnant women, and also most often found in people over age 50.
Inguinal Hernia: The Most Common Type of Hernia
An inguinal hernia happens through a muscular weakness in the inner groan. Groin hernias make up about 3 out of 4 hernia cases, and inguinal hernias are the most common. In an inguinal hernia, part of the small intestine pushes its way through an area called the inguinal canal.
The most commonly seen symptom of an inguinal hernia is a lump where the thigh and groin come together. It might go away when lying down, but can be seen when coughing, standing, or straining.
While painful, inguinal hernias generally aren’t dangerous. Your doctor may watch it for signs of potential complications, potentially requiring surgery to correct it.
Inguinal hernias happen more often to men than to women, although they can happen at almost any age.
Hernia Symptoms and Signs
Hernia symptoms will vary depending on the location, but there are some commonalities. There will be a swelling beneath the skin of the abdomen or the skin. It may be tender and disappear when lying down. The bulge may have a burning or aching sensation. There may be a heavy feeling in the abdomen that sometimes comes with constipation or blood in the stool. Discomfort in the abdomen or groin may occur when lifting or bending over.
In some cases (like hiatal hernias) there may be heartburn, a hard time swallowing, or vomiting. Femoral and inguinal hernia might involve swelling or pain around the testicles or weakness or pressure in the groin area. Constipation or shooting pain are possibilities as well.
Hernias can be caused by any increase in pressure in the abdomen. These weaknesses in the muscles or fascia can exist from birth or happen over time, exasperated by strain. This could be anything from heavy lifting, diarrhea or constipation, or persistent coughing or sneezing. Also, factors like obesity, poor nutrition, and smoking can weaken muscles and increase the likelihood of hernias forming.
Get Treatment for Your Hernia with BASS Medical Group
Getting a hernia can be a painful process to go through, but you don’t have to face treatment alone. If you think you’ve developed a hernia and need a second opinion, BASS Medical Group is here to help.
BASS’s team of medical experts handles every medical challenge, including the types of hernias listed above. Whether that means rest and close monitoring, or surgical options, you’ll be in good hands with BASS’s expert care. Schedule your consultation today for more information.