What is a hernia, and what can be done to treat it?
On this page, you will find a detailed description of what a hernia is, the types of hernias that can occur, what the symptoms for a hernia are, and how our world-class surgeons and clinicians treat hernias.
It is often a part of your intestine pushing through the wall of muscle around your groin and lower abdominal cavity, or your stomach moving upwards through the hole in your diaphragm (hiatus).
Hernias occur most often in the abdomen between your chest and hips but can also appear in your groin or upper thigh area.
Most hernias aren’t immediately life-threatening, but don’t disappear on their own, and can sometimes require hernia repair surgery to prevent dangerous complications.
Although the cause of a hernia is unclear, it is known that hernias can be extremely painful and make day-to-day life a challenge.
The lump may disappear when you’re lying down, and you’re more likely to feel your hernia through touch when you’re standing up, bending down, or coughing. You may experience pain or discomfort in the area around the lump.
Certain types of hernias may have more specific symptoms, such as chest pain, trouble swallowing or heartburn.
Often times hernias will have no symptoms, and you will only find out you have one during a physical exam by your doctor.
You will also be asked about your medical history, which may include a variety of questions, like:
- Do you have a personal or family history of hernias?
- Have you had any surgeries in your abdomen or groin area?
- When did you first notice the bulge?
- Have you experienced any other symptoms?
It can also be helpful to wear a supportive truss, which may help relieve symptoms.
In children, your doctor might try applying manual pressure to reduce the bulge before considering surgery.
If your hernia is growing bigger, or causing you discomfort and pain, your surgeon may decide it’s best to operate.
They will be able to talk with you about the best treatment options for your specific situation.