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What Exactly is a Hernia?


A hernia takes effect 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. Hernias can be classified in five types: inguinal, hiatal, femoral, umbilical, and incisional (where a hernia occurs via an operational scar, due to a recent surgery).

The common symptoms of a hernia really depend on what type you have; and at times hernias may not even be noticed until a routine doctor’s checkup. In general, sufferers will find a protruding bulge on their groin, upper thigh, or abdominal areas. Individuals can experience pain and discomfort in this area, and may also feel uncomfortable when standing, lifting, coughing, or laughing. Other signs of a hernia can include acid reflux, nausea, and vomiting. Alternatively, infants, babies and children are susceptible to hernias, and their symptoms can be visible around their abdominal areas when crying, coughing or straining during a bowel movement.

At the end of the day, you can lower the risks of a hernia. In most cases, heavy lifting, constipation, and chronic coughing and sneezing can increase one’s chances of developing a hernia. Obesity, smoking, and poor dietary habits are other risk factors; however, these are indirect correlations to the main causes. For smokers, the nasty habit develops an increase in coughing, where the end result contributes to a constant cough, thus developing a hernia. However, when it comes to babies, the reasons and causes of hernias are quite different. They acquire what is known as umbilical hernias. As they are growing in the womb, the small opening in the abdominal muscles which allows the mother to connect to the baby through the umbilical cord can result in an umbilical 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.

So what kinds of treatments are available for those suffering through a hernia? Your family doctor first needs to establish diagnosis through a variety of tests. At times if the bulge is swelling and visible, no tests are necessarily needed. However, if it is not, an individual may have to go through ultrasounds or x-rays to fully diagnose. Once it is established that an individual does indeed have a hernia, depending on the type, size and severity, your doctor will recommend surgery, and may suggest over-the-counter pain relief drugs, or prescribed medication.