A hernia is a condition in which an organ or tissue protrudes through an opening or weak spot of the surrounding muscle, membrane, or connective tissue (also known as fascia) that normally holds the organ in place. Hernias are somewhat common, affecting about 2 percent of the population, young and old. There are several types of hernias, along with a variety of varying symptoms and causes. Most commonly, hernias are located within the abdominal region and are accompanied with swelling or a noticeable lump.
If you suspect you have the symptoms of a hernia, it is advised that you seek immediate detection, diagnosis, and treatment from a medical professional. At Hernia Surgery Los Angeles, our team of world-renowned, highly trained surgeons offers a wide range of cutting-edge, minimally invasive hernia treatment options.
What Is a Hernia?
Hernia is a word derived from the Latin word for “rupture.” This rupture occurs when pressure causes an organ or tissue to move through the fascia into parts of the body that it normally wouldn’t. The types, causes, and symptoms of hernias differ, including differentiating types between men and women. Hernias happen more frequently in certain parts of the body, with the most common being the abdomen, groin, and upper-thigh.
Hernias may come as a result of things like excess exertion (frequent heavy lifting), pregnancy, obesity, or prior surgeries. Some people may even carry a genetic propensity that increases their odds of developing a hernia at some point in life. Hernias may develop suddenly, or over an extended period of time.
There are several types of hernias with different causes, symptoms, and locations. Listed below are some of the most common types of hernias.
- Inguinal Hernia – Also known as testicular or scrotal hernia in men. Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia, with the majority occurring in men due to a natural weakness in the area. With an inguinal hernia, the intestines or bladder protrude through an opening in the lower abdomen into the inguinal canal located in the groin region. A bulge or lump may be noticed in the area where your thigh and groin meet. In men, the protruding organ may enter the scrotum, causing pain and swelling. Other symptoms may include pain when lifting heavy objects, bending over, or when you cough. The inguinal hernia requires surgery to repair.
- Femoral Hernia – This type of hernia occurs when part of the intestines protrude into the area of the groin that carries the femoral artery, and is more common in women than men, especially during pregnancy. The femoral hernia may appear as a bulge in the upper thigh.
- Umbilical Hernia – Umbilical hernias occur when a part of the intestines protrude through the abdominal wall behind the belly button area. This type of hernia is common in newborns and infants, but can certainly affect people of all ages. Adults that are overweight are more prone to developing an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias may also form due to a persistent cough or from lifting heavy objects. This hernia is more common in women, especially in those who have had multiple pregnancies. Signs and symptoms of an umbilical hernia include bulging around the belly button and discomfort in the navel region. Surgery is required for adults with an umbilical hernia.
- Hiatal Hernia – This hernia occurs at the area of the diaphragm where the esophagus meets the stomach. The cause of a hiatal hernia is typically a weakening of the muscles that surrounds the diaphragm, allowing the top of the stomach to pass through. A hiatal hernia will not have the normal symptoms like a lump that you can see or feel on the outside, although symptoms do tend to include possible indigestion, heartburn, or chest pain. A hiatal hernia may require surgery, but may sometimes be treated with medications and a prescribed diet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hernias
Our doctors understand that patients may have a multitude of questions regarding their hernia. To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about hernias that patients typically ask.
Q: I have pain in my stomach, do I have a hernia?
A: Hernia symptoms may vary from a physical lump and extreme pain, to general discomfort, to practically unnoticeable. If you experience an extended period of stomach or groin discomfort or have a sudden onset of pain when moving or straining, you may have a hernia. It is important to remember that even insignificant symptoms may be caused by a hernia, and should not be disregarded. If you are feeling prolonged stomach discomfort or suspect you may have the symptoms of a hernia, it is advised you contact the team at Hernia Surgery Los Angeles to schedule an appointment right away.
Q: How can I prevent a hernia?
A: There are several reasons one may develop a hernia. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any one single method for avoiding hernias. For example, some people inherent a predisposition for developing hernias, and some women may develop hernias during pregnancy. However, you can decrease your odds of developing a hernia by eating right, staying in shape, and maintaining a healthy weight. If you lift heavy objects on a regular basis, it’s important to maintain proper technique and form to avoid excess abdominal strain.
Q: I am a smoker; do I have an increased risk of developing a hernia?
A: Smoking can be a driving factor with hernia development. Smokers have a higher incidence of abdominal hernias than non-smokers. Exposure to nicotine from tobacco can cause the abdominal wall to weaken, making it easier for a hernia to develop. Frequent coughing and lung irritation as a smoker can also increase the risk of developing a hernia.
Q: Do I really need surgery if I have a hernia?
A: Although very uncommon for adults, some hernias can be minor to the point of self-healing. It’s important to note that only a doctor can tell you whether or not surgery is required. However, most hernias do require surgery. If a hernia is left untreated, it may grow in size and become extremely painful. More importantly, an untreated hernia may lead to more severe, life-threatening ailments. Therefore, it is very important that you contact Hernia Surgery Los Angeles right away if you suspect you may have a hernia.
Contact a Hernia Expert in Los Angeles Today
The world-renowned team of physicians at Hernia Surgery Los Angeles has the experience and skill set required to repair any variety of hernia with the most cutting edge equipment and procedures. If you suspect you may have a hernia, call (888) 418-2082 today to schedule an appointment.
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