Identifying a Hernia: Types & Symptoms

When a fatty tissue or organ squeezes through a vulnerable spot in a connective tissue called fascia or in a surrounding muscle, that’s when a hernia can occur. They usually appear where the abdominal wall becomes vulnerable, such as the groin or abdomen (belly area), which can have various causes. 

An opening or weakness of muscle or fascia and a combination of pressure ultimately causes hernias. The pressure pushes a tissue or an organ through the vulnerable spot or the opening. Muscle weakness happens more often later in life and sometimes at birth. If there’s an increase in pressure, it can cause Hernia, including persistent coughing or sneezing, lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles, and diarrhea. There are several types of Hernia and symptoms that you need to look out for, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this blog post.

What are the types of Hernia?

There are several types of Hernia and their unique causes, characteristics, and symptoms. You may get this condition in your lower chest through your diaphragm, through a former abdominal surgery incision, in your groin through your lower abdominal wall, and along the front midline of your abdomen. 

In cases when a hernia gets serious, it can’t go back in since it’s stuck in the hole that’s pushed through. In severe cases, the tissue can become cut off from the blood supply due to tissue death (necrosis, which can become painful. Therefore, it’s important to know the different types of this condition to observe the severity of pain and tolerance you might experience. 

Incisional Hernias

You might get an incisional hernia if you have surgery in which a doctor makes an opening through your belly. Where the skin has become vulnerable due to the impact of a scar after surgery, a tissue can poke through. They can lead to more severe problems like groin hernias if they’re not repaired.

For people who have had emergency surgery or a general operation, incisional hernias are already common to them. If you get pregnant, gain a lot of weight, and exercise too soon or heavily, you can get an incisional Hernia from doing these things before your incision heals completely. 

Umbilical hernias

When a part of the intestine or fat pushes through muscle near the belly button, umbilical hernias can occur. Adults can have this condition, but this is more prone to newborns. They’re more common for infants born earlier than expected and under 6 months old. More likely than men, women can get an umbilical hernia. 

This condition can sometimes cause pain, discomfort, and other complications, such as strangulation or obstruction of the protruding tissue. When this happens, you’re required to prompt medical attention. Surgical repair, monitoring, and lifestyle changes are just a few treatments to lessen the severity of an umbilical hernia.

Spigelian Hernia

This type of Hernia appears when a portion of other abdominal tissue products or intestines pushes through a weak hole or area in the abdominal muscles near the rectus abdominis muscle and its edge. This condition often has vague symptoms such as discomfort, abdominal pain, and bloating. Which is why Spigelian hernias are difficult to diagnose since they’re relatively uncommon.

Spigelian hernias tend to occur in the lower abdominal wall and are more common in women than men. Chronic coughing or straining, obesity, previous abdominal surgery, and pregnancy are some of the risk factors of this condition. Spigelian Hernias don’t typically resolve independently, which is why a surgical repair is necessary. 

Epigastric Hernia

When a portion of abdominal tissues and intestine protrudes through a hole or a weak spot between the belly button and breastbone in the upper abdominal wall, an epigastric hernia can occur. Although often asymptomatic and relatively small, they can cause pain or discomfort if the protruding tissue becomes pinched or trapped. 

Epigastric hernias are most commonly found in the midline of the upper abdomen. They can also be caused by a congenital weakness in the abdominal wall by chronic coughing, heavy lifting, and excessive straining. If the Hernia is increasing in size or causing symptoms, surgical repair can be the treatment for the condition. 

What are the symptoms of Hernia?

Depending on the severity of the Hernia and its type, hernias are a common medical condition that can cause various symptoms. Also, depending on the type of Hernia you have, you might not have symptoms. 

A visible bulge in the affected area is one common sign that you have Hernia. This condition can cause your tissues or organs to become infected, strangled, or blocked. Difficulty swallowing, pressure, heartburn, or a cough are reported symptoms of Hernia. So let’s now dive into the description of each symptom to seek medical help immediately once you spot such symptoms:

Aching or burning sensations in the affected area

The location of the pain or discomfort may vary depending on the type of Hernia. For instance, individuals may experience pain or discomfort in the groin area when they have inguinal Hernia. On the other hand, those who can experience chest pain or heartburn may have a hiatal hernia.

The cause of protruding tissue or organ may result from the stretching and pressure of the surrounding nerves or tissues in which burning sensations or acid may occur in the affected area. You may feel pain or discomfort in activities such as lifting heavy objects and coughing since the effect can strain the abdomen. 

Indigestion or heartburn

This is a symptom of Hiatal Hernia. Other symptoms of this type of Hernia are belching, difficulty swallowing, and acid reflux. These symptoms occur because the herniated portion of the stomach can disrupt the normal functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle that helps prevent acid reflux and separates the esophagus from the stomach. 

Stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus when the muscle is disrupted or weakened. This can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to symptoms such as heartburn. It’s important to note that Hernia itself can contribute to the development of both acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

 A visible bulge or lump in the affected area

This is a primary symptom of inguinal Hernia, which can affect the groin area. After you’ve been laughing, coughing, and lifting heavy weights, the bulge may suddenly appear. It may even develop over a longer period, appearing in weeks or months. 

Which is why you may experience general discomfort when straining in the area of the groin. If you have an inguinal hernia, it may be associated with a burning or aching feeling in the bulge area. Aside from that, you may also experience a sensation of pressure, dragging, and vulnerability in the groin. 

Nausea or vomiting

Nausea or vomiting may not be a common symptom of Hernia, but they can occur in cases of a complicated hernia. A portion of the tissue or intestine becomes trapped in the hernia sac when a hernia becomes obstructed. This will result in the portion or tissue being unable to move through the normal digestive system. Abdominal distention, nausea, vomiting, and constipation are symptoms that can occur. 

Strangulation is another possible complication of a hernia. This occurs when the blood supply to the herniated tissue becomes compromised. As a result, this can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain, and fever. To prevent tissue damage or death, emergency medical attention is required. 


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