The Most Common Types of Hernia Explained
A hernia occurs when an internal organ or other body part bulges through a weak spot or opening in the muscle or tissue that contains it. There are different types of hernia Dallas and most occur in the abdomen, but some may appear in the upper thigh and groin area. Most hernias don’t go away independently, but they are not immediately life-threatening. However, prompt treatment is critical to avoid severe complications such as a strangulated hernia. Below are the types of hernias that are most common.
An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as fat or a portion of the intestine, bulges through a weak spot in the lower stomach wall. In most cases, the tissue protrudes through the inguinal canal, located in the groin area, but sometimes it does not. The resulting bulge seems to go away when you lie down, but it becomes more obvious when upright, especially if you cough, bend over, or lift something heavy. Generally, an inguinal hernia is not dangerous, but without treatment, it can lead to complications, including strangulation. This occurs when the hernia contents get trapped inside the abdominal wall (incarcerated). The blood supply of an incarcerated hernia can be cut off; this is called a strangulated hernia, and it can be life-threatening.
Umbilical hernias are the second most common type when part of the intestine bulges through the weak abdominal muscles near your belly button. They are typically harmless and mostly occur in infants but they can also affect adults. An umbilical hernia in an infant is more noticeable when the infant cries, causing the belly button or navel to protrude. Often, umbilical hernias in children close on their own within the first two years of life, but some remain open into the fifth year or longer. Umbilical hernias are usually painless and unproblematic, but they may require surgery if they cause symptoms or don’t go away on their own.
Approximately one-third of patients who undergo abdominal surgery will develop an incisional hernia. It occurs at or near a surgical incision through which intestine, fat, or other tissue protrudes. An incisional hernia can occur due to several specific reasons, such as gaining significant weight, engaging in premature or excessive physical activity, or becoming pregnant before the incision has fully healed. You are most likely to develop an incisional hernia within three to six months after abdominal surgery, but it can happen at any time.
The large muscle separating your abdomen and chest (diaphragm) has a small opening (hiatus) through which your esophagus passes to connect to your stomach. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach bulges through a weak point in your diaphragm and into your chest. Most small hiatal hernias cause no problems; they often go unnoticed until a doctor discovers it when diagnosing another condition. However, a large hiatal hernia can allow food and stomach acid to back into your food pipe (esophagus), causing heartburn. Hiatal hernias are common in pregnant women and individuals 50 years and older. As the first line of treatment, healthcare providers recommend lifestyle changes and drugs to ease symptoms such as heartburn and chest pain.
If you have hernia symptoms, book an appointment with your doctor at Michael Sutker, MD for diagnosis and treatment to avoid life-threatening complications.