Hernias occur when tissue is weakened and a piece of an organ protrudes through the hole in the tissue. Most types of hernias have the same signs and symptoms, while others have no symptoms at all. One of the most common symptoms of hernias is pain that accompanies everyday activities, such as coughing, lifting, and bending. There are five types of hernias: hiatus hernias, incisional hernias, epigastric hernias, umbilical hernias, and inguinal hernias (the most common type), according to the Nemours Foundation.
Diagnosis & Treatment
A hernia is often diagnosed in a routine examination by your physician. Most hernias cause a lump in the area of the body where they are present. For example, an inguinal hernia can be identified in both males and females by feeling the reproductive organs. A male patient may be asked to cough so that the doctor is better able to identify the presence of a hernia. The only hernia that is not evident on the outside of the body is a hiatus hernia. Symptoms of a hiatus hernia include heartburn and indigestion. Umbilical hernia are more common in babies when they are first born and are the only hernias that typically go away on their own.
Hernias are extremely painful and bothersome because the pain coincides with typical everyday activitys. Pain from a hernia or possible hernia should not be ignored, because the pain could be an indication that a hernia has become strangulated. Strangulation of a hernia occurs when the tissue surrounding the exposed organ cuts off blood circulation to the hernia. This can be life threatening, because the tissue will die, which puts you at risk for infection.
The only way to ease hernia pain is through surgery. This treatment approach is normally recommended for all hernias when they are identified to prevent further involvement of damage to the organs and tissues. Many people fear hernia surgery because they figure that the pain from the hernia itself cannot be nearly as bad as the pain after surgery. However, with modern medicine, hernia surgery is typically done in an outpatient procedure that is not nearly as invasive as it was in the past. Generally, most hernia removals are now performed via a laparoscopic procedure, which allows the hernia to be removed from the body via extremely small incisions. Very little recovery time is required, and the surgery is accompanied by very little pain.