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About Hernia

A Hernia refers to a condition when an internal organ of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or the surrounding tissue wall.

In most of the cases, a hernia typically develops between your chest and hips. It can lead to no or very few symptoms, although you may notice a swelling or lump in your tummy (abdomen) or groin. The lump can often be pushed back in or disappears when you lie down. Coughing or straining may make the lump appear.

Types of Hernia

Some commonly referred types of Hernia include:

Inguinal hernias

Inguinal hernias take place when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel nudges through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. This is the most common kind of hernia and it mainly affects men. It's often related with ageing and repeated strain on the abdomen.

Femoral hernias

Femoral hernias also take place when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. They're much less common than inguinal hernias and tend to affect more women than men.

Similar to inguinal hernias, femoral hernias are also associated with ageing and repeated strain on the abdomen.

Umbilical hernias

Umbilical hernias occur when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen near your belly button (navel).

This type of hernia can occur in babies if the opening in the abdomen through which the umbilical cord passes doesn't seal properly after birth. Adults can also be affected, probably as an outcome of recurrent strain on the abdomen.

Hiatus hernias

Hiatus hernias happen when portion of the stomach pushes up into your chest by enfolding through an opening in the diaphragm (the thin sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen).

This type of hernia may not have any noticeable symptoms, although it can cause heartburn in some people.

It's not precisely clear what causes hiatus hernias, but it may be the result of the diaphragm becoming weak with age or pressure on the abdomen.

Other types of hernia

Other types of hernia that can affect the abdomen include:

  • incisional hernias – where tissue pokes through a surgical wound in your abdomen that hasn't fully healed
  • epigastric hernias – where fatty tissue pokes through your abdomen, between your navel and the lower part of your breastbone (sternum)
  • spigelian hernias – where part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen at the side of your abdominal muscle, below your navel
  • diaphragmatic hernias – where organs in your abdomen move into your chest through an opening in the diaphragm; this can also affect babies if their diaphragm doesn't develop properly in the womb
  • muscle hernias – where part of a muscle pokes through your abdomen; they also occur in leg muscles as the result of a sports injury

Hernia Surgery

There are two major surgery options available for hernias that can be chosen:

  • open surgery – where one cut is made to allow the surgeon to push the lump back into the abdomen
  • keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery – this is a less invasive, but more difficult, technique where several smaller cuts are made, allowing the surgeon to use various special instruments to repair the hernia

Most people are able to go home the same day or the day after surgery and make a full recovery within a few weeks. If your doctor recommends having surgery, it's important to be aware of the potential risks, as well as the possibility of the hernia recurring. Make sure you get to know the benefits and dangers of the procedure with your surgeon in detail before having the operation.


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