Signs of a Hernia

A hernia is a medical condition in which an organ protrudes through the muscle wall, creating a bulge outside the muscle. Anyone can get a hernia, but certain factors may make it more likely. 

Lifting heavy objects and other types of straining are a leading cause of hernia. Men are at the greatest risk for groin hernias and risk increases if you’re older or obese. Women who are obese or pregnant are more likely to develop hernias, as well.

Hernias are common and while they don’t always produce symptoms, they can pose a health risk. Brian Prebil, DO, Eric Thomas, MD, FACS, and our team at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery are proud to offer minimally invasive hernia repair for men and women of all ages.

Recognizing a hernia bulge

Hernias range in size and location, depending on the area of weakness in your muscle wall. In general, they look like a soft bulge that can easily be pushed back into the body. Some hernias disappear when you lie down and reappear when you stand.

Incisional hernias can develop almost anywhere if you’ve had a previous surgery that weakened nearby muscles. With this hernia, organs push through previous surgical scars. Umbilical hernias appear as a bulge in the belly button.

Inguinal hernias are located in the groin area and a bulge may form on either side of the pubic bone, where your thigh meets your groin. Inguinal hernias form when a part of the intestine or bladder protrudes through the muscle wall.

Hiatal hernias develop in the upper stomach and they may not be visible. This type of hernia is caused by the stomach pushing through the abdomen into the chest through your diaphragm. 

Other symptoms of a hernia

In many cases, the only sign of a hernia is a swollen area or bulge in your abdomen or groin. But hernias can be painful or uncomfortable. Inguinal hernias may create a heavy sensation in the groin or generate a sharp, burning pain because they put pressure on the inguinal nerve.

Abdominal and groin hernia pain often increases with activity like standing, lifting heavy items, or straining. Advanced hernias may be firm and more difficult to push inside the muscle wall.

Hiatal hernias may bring unique symptoms because they interfere with your stomach and diaphragm. Common signs of a hiatal hernia include ongoing acid reflux or heartburn and a sour taste from stomach acid that gets pushed back up into your esophagus.

Hernia treatment

Making lifestyle changes can minimize symptoms, but hernias don’t go away by themselves. If left untreated, hernias can get worse, potentially causing more intense pain or serious medical complications.

If you have an inguinal hernia and you experience acute pain, nausea, or vomiting, seek immediate medical attention. Hernias can cause bowel strangulation in rare cases and require prompt care to prevent organ death.

Talk to Dr. Prebil and Dr. Thomas to learn more about your risks for hernia complications and find out if minimally invasive hernia repair is a good option for you. 

Call our office in Peoria, Arizona, to get started today.

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