Top FAQ’s About Hernia

FAQs about hernia
If you have a hernia or fear that you do, then you will have several questions about this condition. Here we have answered the most important and common questions about hernia so that you can be better informed.
1. What Exactly is a Hernia?
A hernia is a protrusion in which one of the organs pushes through the muscle or tissue that contains it. The organ exits through the wall of the muscle or tissue that surrounds it. Hernias normally occur in the abdominal muscles but also occur in the chest and groin.
It may cause symptoms such as pain, which is referred to as hernia pain. Other symptoms include discomfort with coughing, exercising, urinating and defecating.
2. What are the Different Types of Hernias?
There are several different types of hernias including the following:
  • Inguinal hernia:
This is the most common type, accounting for 75% of all hernias. They mostly affect men. They happen when part of your bowel protrudes into your inguinal canal, a passageway that runs down your inner thigh.
  • Femoral hernia:
This type is a less common type of groin hernia that occurs in the femoral canal. Fatty tissue may poke through.
  • Hiatal hernia:
A hiatal hernia is a common type of hernia. It happens when the opening in the diaphragm widens, and the top of the stomach pushes up into the chest.
  • Umbilical hernia:
This hernia occurs when the intestine pokes through an opening in the abdominal wall.
  • Perineal hernia:
It is a rare type of hernia. It happens when organs or tissue push through an opening or weakness in the pelvic floor into the abdominal cavity.
3. How to Know if I Might have a Hernia?
There are several indications that show that you have a hernia. These are the most important signs:
  • There’s a bulge in your abdomen or groin:
The first sign of a hernia is the bulge created by the tissue or organ. You might notice it when you increase the pressure within your abdomen, by coughing, jumping, standing up or straining.
  • Soreness or pain.
Bulges are typically associated with mild discomfort that can be exacerbated by coughing, straining or strenuous physical activity.
  • You feel nauseated and may be constipated.
A hernia can result in strangulation, meaning the section of the organ or tissue protruding through the hole gets stuck, and its blood supply is cut off. This results in more severe symptoms, such as worsening pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting or constipation. A strangulated hernia will quickly become life-threatening, requiring emergency surgery.
4. Are Hernias Dangerous?
If a hernia is not causing pain or discomfort then the patient can live with it. In most cases a hernia is not dangerous. However, there are certain circumstances under which a hernia can become dangerous.
There are symptoms that show that a hernia has become severe such as pain, bloating, nausea and/or vomiting and difficult bowel movements. Hernias are most dangerous in cases of strangulation. When strangulation occurs then surgery is needed urgently.
5. How are Hernias Fixed?
A mild hernia that only comes out occasionally, does not need immediate medical treatment. However, hernias do tend to worsen over time, which is why providers recommend repairing them. Most hernias do require treatment, if not immediately, then eventually.
These are some treatments given for patients with hernias:
  • Hernia repair surgery:
This is a common and minor procedure unless there are complications. It is a minimally-invasive method for a routine hernia repair.
  • Laparoscopic surgery:
In this surgery a laparoscope is used — a long, thin tube with a lighted camera on the end — to look inside the surgical site.
  • Umbilical hernia repair:
An umbilical hernia may close on its own without treatment as the baby grows, but sometimes it may not. Umbilical hernia repair is used for such repair.
6. Do all Hernias Require Surgery?
In some cases, a hernia does not require surgical treatment.  Your hernia goes away when you lie down, or you can push it back into your belly. This is called a reducible hernia. It is too small to cause any major symptoms.
7. Difference between Direct and Indirect Hernia:
Inguinal hernias come in two forms, direct and indirect. Inguinal hernias are protrusions of bowels into the inguinal canal which is a passageway in the inner thigh.
An indirect inguinal hernia occurs in infancy and direct inguinal hernia occurs in adulthood.
A direct inguinal hernia causes a bulge to form from the posterior wall of the inguinal canal. It cannot go down to the scrotum. The reason it develops in adulthood is because at this age, the abdominal muscles become weak with the increasing age.
An indirect inguinal hernia passes through the inguinal canal or the groin. The hernia is not easily felt because it occurs behind the oblique muscle fibres. It can enter into the scrotum. It occurs in infancy because the abdominal area called the inguinal rings fails to close.
These are the most common questions that patients ask us about hernias. If you have any other doubts, please contact The Laser Gastroenterology Clinic and ask us your questions. We will be happy to clarify them for you.

Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran