The Different Types of Hernias Explained

The Different Types of Hernias Explained

A hernia is a common medical condition that happens when your internal organs and tissues protrude through the tough muscle wall of your abdomen. But did you know there are six different types of hernias?

A soft, mushy bulge on the surface of your skin is a tell-tale symptom of a hernia. Small hernias may not be painful, but they can get more serious without medical intervention. An untreated hernia may get larger and block internal organs or blood vessels, triggering a medical emergency.

Identifying and treating your hernia early is the best way to protect your health, and you don’t need invasive surgery to fix it. Hernia repair at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery is safe and effective.

Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, and our surgical team regularly perform minimally invasive hernia repair for all the most common types of hernias. Read on to learn more about the different types of hernias, from the rib cage down to the groin.

Hiatal hernia

Your diaphragm is a large muscle in your chest that separates your lungs from your abdomen. If you have a hiatal hernia, part of your stomach pushes through a weak spot in your diaphragm and enters your rib cage.

Hiatal hernias, also called upper stomach hernias, are some of the most common hernias among older adults. Many other types of hernias create a visible bulge in the skin, but a hiatal hernia isn’t easy to see. The most common symptom of a hiatal hernia is acid reflux (heartburn).

Epigastric hernia

The epigastric area of your abdomen is between your rib cage and your belly button. Epigastric hernias form when organs in your upper abdomen (like your stomach) push through the muscle wall.

Epigastric hernias are often small, but they can cause pain and tenderness in the affected area. Pain might be more noticeable with activity that puts pressure on your abdomen, like coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

Incisional hernia

Incisional hernias are a complication of abdominal surgery. Stomach surgery, like gastric bypass, Cesarean sections, and many more necessitate incisions in the abdomen. But sometimes, those incisions don’t fully heal.

If an incisional hernia develops, internal organs push through a weak spot in your abdominal wall near the surgical incision. These hernias can develop anywhere you have an abdominal surgical scar.

Umbilical hernia

Umbilical hernias form in your belly button area. Fat or part of your intestines may push through a weak spot in the muscles around your belly button, creating a visible bulge. Like epigastric hernias, umbilical hernias may be more painful when you strain.

Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. About 27% of men and 3% of women develop an inguinal hernia in their lifetimes. These hernias develop when intestines or fat tissue push through your lower abdominal wall into your groin area.

If you have an inguinal hernia, you might notice a soft lump in your groin (or scrotum, in men). Inguinal hernias can happen on the right or left side of your body, but they’re more common on the right.

Femoral hernia

Femoral hernias develop when tissue pushes through the muscles in your groin or inner thigh. These hernias are small- to medium-sized, and they are more common in women than men.

Femoral hernias are found in the groin, like with inguinal hernias, but they’re located closer to the femoral blood vessels that feed your leg. Femoral hernias may increase your risk of circulation problems because the large lump could block the blood supply to your leg.

What to do about a hernia

Not all hernias cause noticeable symptoms, but a soft bulge in your abdomen or groin should never be ignored. Hernias don’t heal on their own, and you might need surgery to repair the hernia and prevent complications.

Dr. Alt and Dr. Prebil perform highly specialized hernia repair with the da Vinci® robotic surgery system. It’s a minimally invasive technique that combines our surgical expertise with robotic precision. People who choose minimally invasive hernia repair can enjoy shorter recovery times and better outcomes.

Don’t wait to get your hernia examined. Call the office to schedule an appointment at our office in Peoria, Arizona, or request more information online now.

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