Hernia refers to a bulge of intestine or another organ that goes through the muscle of the belly.
It usually occurs when the muscle is too weak that it is unable to hold the pressure of an internal organ pressuring through the abdomen. If you have hernia, you will feel a soft lump on either your belly or groin. It's also possible to have this on a scar from a past surgery.
The lump usually goes away if you press it or when you lie down. Sometimes, it can inflict pain especially when you bend over, lift a heavy object, or cough.
There are various types of hernias, which are explained in more detail below.
Inguinal Hernia occurs when the tissue is pushed through a weak spot in the muscle of the groin. Most inguinal hernias develop when there is an opening in the muscle wall that did not close before birth. Because of this, there's a weak spot in the belly muscle near the groin area. When tissue pushes through that particular area, a bulge is created and that's known as inguinal hernia. The main symptom of this condition is a bulge in the groin or scrotum that often seems like a round lump. Surgery is the only way of treating this type of hernia.
Ventral Hernia develops in the middle part of the abdomen, often on top of the navel (belly button). This one is usually painless, unlike the one that forms in the groin. Ventral hernia may occur when the muscles of your abdomen become weak due to a past surgery, muscle strain such as from a heavy lifting, or just generally weak abdomen muscles. This can be treated either by a surgery or the caregiver may be able to push the hernia back into the abdomen without surgery.
Femoral Hernia takes place when tissue pushes through the lower belly and into the upper thigh below the crease in the groin. This type is more common among women than men. The pain from this hernia type is felt in the groin area. Since this occurs in the groin area, some people mistake it for inguinal hernia. Diagnosing femoral hernia can be hard as it is typically too small for the doctor to feel during physical examination. When the femoral hernia causes for blood supply to the tissue to be cut off, it requires an emergency surgery.
When the intestine or fat pushes through a weak spot in the belly and causes for a bulge to develop near the belly button, the umbilical hernia occurs. This is very prevalent among infants. Most of the time, this type of hernia would close on its own as the kid reaches one year old. But in some cases, surgery is required. This condition can also occur in adults, particularly for those who are overweight, pregnant, or have too much fluid in the belly. Like femoral hernia, this can also result in the cutting off blood supply to the tissue. This also requires an emergency surgery.
Incisional Hernia takes place after a surgery in the belly. It usually occurs along vertical incisions. People who are older, have used steroid medicines, are overweight, have had lung problems after surgery, or have had wound infection after surgery are prone to incisional hernia. It can be large and painful and should be immediately brought to the attention of the doctor.
Epigastric Hernia happens when there is fat that pushes through the weak part of the wall of belly. This typically occurs at birth, in the middle part of the belly, particularly between the breastbone and the belly button. This type of hernia is usually small. It doesn't have any symptoms but you can experience pain in the upper belly. Epigastric hernia requires surgery. However, for the case of a newborn baby, the surgery can be postponed until he/she becomes a toddler, because toddlers can toddlers can tolerate the surgery better. An exception to this postponement would be an emergency where the hernia gets stuck in the protruding position.