What is a Hernia?
A hernia appears when tissue or an organ pushes through an area of weakness in the connective tissue or surrounding muscle.
This area of the body through which the tissue or organ squeezes is usually a person’s abdominal wall. You may experience mild symptoms with some hernias, while some can even be a medical emergency.
In this article, we’ll take you through the different types of hernias and the place in which they occur in your body.
Common Types of Hernias
- Epigastric Hernia
This type of hernia develops in the abdomen’s epigastric region. It is situated below the ribcage and above the belly button.
If you are suffering from an epigastric hernia, you will feel symptoms when there is pressure on the abdominal wall. Activities such as laughing, coughing, or bearing down to have a bowel movement create this pressure.
You can also feel some tenderness and pain in the area where the hernia occurs.
- Femoral Hernia
When the tissue pushes through a weak point in the inner thigh or groin, it leads to the occurrence of a femoral hernia. You can feel the hernia in the form of a small to medium-sized lump in the groin.
Femoral hernias develop more in women as compared to men. Since the femoral vein and artery are nearby, the femoral hernia requires immediate attention. The hernia can impact these blood vessels and cause a blockage for blood flow from and to the leg. Keeping these complications of femoral hernias in mind, doctors suggest femoral hernia surgery as treatment.
Femoral hernias are seen more in women who are obese or pregnant.
- Hiatal Hernia
This condition is observed when a person’s stomach develops a lump through a weak point in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that differentiates the abdominal organs from the lungs.
You can suffer from acid reflux problems if you have a hiatal hernia. While some people have a hiatal hernia by birth, others see it growing with age.
Hiatal hernias are of different types. They are classified as type I to type IV based on their location.
Most cases of Hiatal hernias are of type I. In this condition, the stomach retains its position. It is the area where the stomach meets the esophagus that slides above the diaphragm.
- Incisional Hernia
Incisional hernia is mostly the after-effect of stomach surgery. When an incision is created down the middle of the stomach, it is more likely to cause an incisional hernia. This is because the surgical wound fails to heal completely, leaving the patient more prone to suffering from this type of hernia.
Doctors can sometimes refer to an incisional hernia as a ventral hernia. A ventral hernia is a type of hernia that develops along the midline of the stomach. Nevertheless, all ventral hernias are not incisional hernias.
Incisional hernias are most common in people who are overweight or elderly and remain inactive after abdominal surgery.
- Inguinal Hernia
When the intestine or the bladder pushes through the abdominal wall, an inguinal hernia occurs. The bulge protrudes through the inguinal canal in the groin. A majority of all groin hernias are inguinal hernias. Their occurrence is more prominent in men due to a natural weakness in that area.
Some inguinal hernias consist of a part of the small intestine. In certain other cases, some portions of the female reproductive organs are also seen.
Many health institutions report that the occurrence of inguinal hernias is more on the right-hand side. The similarity of inguinal hernia and femoral hernia sometimes makes it difficult to differentiate between the two. Men suffering from inguinal hernia also see a bulge in the scrotum, apart from the one in the groin.
- Umbilical Hernia
When the body’s tissues protrude through a weak spot in the area of the belly button, it is recognized as an umbilical hernia. Studies from the American College of Surgeons suggest that 10 percent of stomach hernias are umbilical hernias.
This type of hernia causes a prominent protrusion in or around the belly button. The protrusion worsens when you cough or place any kind of strain around the affected area.
How to prevent a hernia?
It may not be easy to prevent a hernia. This is because a person’s genetic and medical history majorly contribute to the condition. However, there are a few things you can do to try and prevent the occurrence of a hernia:
- Maintain an optimal body weight to reduce pressure on the abdominal wall.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid straining when lifting heavy objects. You can stress your abdominal wall by lifting too-heavy weights.
- Do not strain during a bowel movement. Drink lots of water and eat a fiber-rich diet to make the passing of stools easier.
The type of hernia you suffer from can differ based on the location and its symptoms. If you suspect a hernia, immediately get in touch with the best hernia surgeons. The surgeon will evaluate your condition to suggest whether you need a surgical correction or can just watch the hernia and its symptoms.