A hernia takes effect when there is a weakness or hole in the muscular wall, referred to as the peritoneum. A condition that can affect infants, babies, children, and adults; it creates a bulge in the area where the hernia develops, as organs and tissues try to push through. Hernias can be classified into five distinctive categories:
- Inguinal – Located in the groin area, this kind of hernia has distinct types: indirect and direct.
- Hiatal – This hernia develops above the belly button region, near an individual’s chest. Those more inclined to get this type of hernia include women, people who are over-weight, and individuals aged 50 and over.
- Femoral – Occurring mostly in women, this hernia appears in the upper part of the thigh, near the groin region.
- Umbilical – This kind of hernia generally affects infants, babies, and expecting mothers. The protruding bulge that a hernia can bring is near the belly button.
- Incisional – Susceptible to those who have recently undergone an operation, this hernia develops around the surgery scar.
Symptoms of a hernia vary, depending on the type. While hernias can sometimes go unnoticed, typically individuals will see a bulge on the groin, upper thigh, or abdominal areas. For those who have hernias, symptoms include:
- Pain, discomfort, and swelling in the bulge where the hernia lies. The area may also be tender to the touch.
- Standing, lifting, coughing, and laughter can increase the pain.
- Acid reflux or heartburn.
- Nausea and vomiting
- For infants, babies and children that suffer from hernias, their symptoms might be similar to adults. For some, the protruding bulge in their abdominal areas may only be visible when crying, coughing or straining during a bowel movement; yet undetectable when sleeping or lying down. Other symptoms for children include irritability, constipation, discomfort, fever, and vomiting.
Regardless of age, if you notice these symptoms, it is recommended to visit your family doctor. Your doctor may be able to diagnose the hernia immediately if it is visible, or you may go through an ultrasound, or x-rays to confirm this condition. While surgery is the general protocol to remove a hernia, some physicians can try and press your hernia back and in place without an operation. In this case, you will be asked to wear a special belt, known as a truss, to hold the hernia until your surgery. Some types of hernias can be fixed with medication, while babies who suffer umbilical hernias are often advised to refrain from surgery for approximately four years; as the condition potentially may be able to heal on its own.