What is a Hernia?
A hernia results when inner layers of abdominal muscle become enervated, and the lining of the abdomen then, protrudes out into a small sac. A portion of the intestine or abdominal tissue may fill the sac, most commonly in the groin (inguinal hernia), the navel (umbilical hernia), and at the incision site of a preceding surgery. A hernia may cause extreme pain and other serious issues such as infection and bowel obstruction. Some people with hernias, however, do not experience any noticeable symptoms.
Types of Hernias
The two main classifications of hernias are inguinal hernias (groin hernias) and ventral hernias (abdominal hernias). Within each category, there are multiple types of hernias.
Inguinal Hernias (Groin Hernias) include:
Direct Inguinal Hernia
These occur in weak muscle next to the orifice of the inguinal canal in the groin region. Usually direct inguinal hernias are seen in men over 40. They can develop from injury or aging.
Indirect Inguinal Hernia
These occur when a loop of intestine and/or fat crushes into or through the inguinal canal in the groin region. This is the most common type of hernia for men, but women can experience this type as well. This area of the groin may be weak from birth, enabling hernias to develop later in life.
These may ensue from a weakness in the femoral canal region of the groin. Femoral hernias are more common in women.
Ventral Hernias (Abdominal Hernias) include:
Incisional hernias are a possible complication of abdominal surgery. These hernias protrude through the scar of a previous abdominal surgery and can crop up anywhere on the abdomen months or years following surgery.
These hernias occur in the umbilical ring that encircles the navel and may be caused be a defect existing from birth. Umbilical hernias may also result from complications of obesity, uncontrolled coughing, or pregnancy. They can occur in children or adults of both sexes.
These hernias press through the abdominal wall between the lower breastbone and navel and are typically due to a weakness existing from birth along with intra-abdominal pressure along the midline. They can occur in both men and women.
Other Types of Hernias Include:
These occur when a portion of the stomach pushes upward through the opening in the diaphragm (hiatus), which the esophagus passes on the way to connect to the stomach. In most cases small hiatal hernias do not cause symptoms, but very large hiatal hernias may require surgery.
The patient has hernias on both sides of the groin.
A hernia occurs in the same place as a preceding hernia repair.
Read about Hernia Repair Surgery.