Hernias can develop in infants, babies, children, and adults. The condition occurs when there is a weakness or hole in the muscular wall (the peritoneum), which generally holds abdominal organs in place. This condition creates a bulge in the area, as a hernia allows your organs and tissues to push through. Symptoms of a hernia vary, depending on the type you have. While hernia’s can sometimes go unnoticed, typically individuals will see a protruding bulge on their groin, upper thigh, or abdominal area. Below is an overview of the different types of hernias that can develop.
- Inguinal: Very common for both men and women, this hernia develops in the groin area. Males tend to be susceptible to this kind of hernia; though women have been known to suffer from inguinal hernias as well. Two types exist under this hernia category: direct and indirect. Indirect inguinal hernia develops when the inguinal canal does not close before birth; causing the hernia bulge to appear in a man’s scrotum, or a fold of skin in the opening of a women’s vagina. Direct inguinal hernias are often caused by heavy lifting, straining, or incessant coughing.
- Hiatal: Both men and women are at risk of this hernia, where your upper stomach bulges up. This can occur simply in an individual who has been born with a weakness in their abdominal muscles. There is no way to avoid this type of hernia.
- Umbilical: As infants are growing in the womb, the small opening in the abdominal muscles which allows mothers to connect to their baby through the umbilical cord can result in this type of hernia. Once the cord is cut shortly after birth, these abdominal muscles should close; however if this does not happen, fatty tissues or part of the bowel can bulge or poke through; ultimately causing a hernia in infants and babies. This hernia type can also develop in expecting mothers, and those who suffer obesity.
- Femoral: This hernia generally develops in women who are pregnant, or overweight. Appearing in the upper groin area, a femoral hernia occurs via the femoral canal; a passage where large blood vessels stream in and out of the leg.
- Incisional: People who have just had an operation in and around their stomach area are at risk of this type of hernia. Caused by weakening scar tissue that develops after surgery, people who gain a significant amount of weight increase their risk around incisional hernias.