5 Signs of a Severe Hernia

When your internal organs push through the muscle wall in your groin or abdomen, a hernia forms. Hernias develop with a combination of physical strain and muscle weakness, and they often create a visible lump under your skin.

Anyone can get a hernia and they range in size, location, and severity — but they don’t go away on their own. Your hernia may not have other noticeable symptoms besides a lump, but it can be painful and get worse over time.

At the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and our team specialize in hernia treatment. If you have a small hernia, you might not need surgery right away and we might recommend watchful waiting at first.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your hernia because it can get progressively larger over time. Severe hernias can cause life-threatening complications, so learning to recognize the warning signs can help you quickly get the care you need.

1. Sudden or worsening pain

Some hernias cause pain or sensations like aching, heaviness, or weakness. If you notice sudden pain or pain that’s gotten significantly worse, it could be a sign of a severe hernia complication called strangulation. 

If you have a strangulated hernia, the organ that’s pushing through your muscle wall isn’t getting blood. This condition is life-threatening and requires immediate medical treatment.

2. Hernia bulge changing color

The lump caused by a hernia is typically the color of your skin. But if it changes color and becomes red, purple, or much darker than your usual skin tone, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Your skin may change color if blood flow to your hernia is cut off.

3. Nausea or vomiting

Hernias often involve organs in your digestive system, from your stomach to your intestines. If your hernia is severe, the affected organ can get trapped in your muscle wall. It’s called an incarcerated hernia, and it can cause digestive issues like nausea, upset stomach, and vomiting.

4. Fever

A normal body temperature is around 98.6° F, but everyone’s body temperature varies slightly. Adults with temperatures above 100.4° F are considered to have a fever. If you have a fever and other signs of a hernia, you might be developing a strangulated hernia.

5. Constipation

The inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas could be related to your hernia. If a portion of your intestine gets trapped in the hernia, it can cause a bowel blockage and constipation. You might notice indigestion, a feeling of heaviness, or changes in bowel habits.

If you think you have a hernia, don’t ignore it. Getting a diagnosis is the only way to know how severe your hernia is and whether you need surgery to treat it. We specialize in minimally invasive hernia repair with the da Vinci® surgical system, so you can get treatment and get back to your life quickly.

Learn more about minimally invasive hernia repair with a consultation at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery. Contact us online or call our Peoria, Arizona, office at 623-227-2581 today.

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