Many Types of Hernias Can Plague the Body
A hernia is a type of malformation where tissue bulges out through a muscle wall that is supposed to hold it back. Most hernias are found in the abdomen. Sometimes people don’t know that they have a hernia, while other people can feel it as a lump that they can push in or that disappears when they lie down. Other people feel pain in the area of the hernia when they exert themselves. In many people, the hernia enlarges as they get older because the muscles that hold the tissue back start to weaken. If the hernia is small and isn’t bothering the patient, it is up to them and their doctor as to whether they should have surgery to repair it. The problem with hernias is they can become incarcerated or strangulated. When a hernia is incarcerated, it can’t be pushed back into its rightful place, which leads to constant discomfort. A hernia is considered strangulated when its blood supply is cut off. This is considered a medical emergency.
1 - Inguinal hernia
An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue bulges through the muscle wall in the lower part of the abdomen. The bulging tissue usually descends into the groin area, where the inguinal canal is located. An inguinal hernia can not only be made up of some of the person’s small intestine but can involve some of the reproductive organs if the patient is a woman. Yet, this type of hernia is more commonly seen in men, where it can be felt as a bulge in the scrotum. It is usually found on the right side of the body.
2 - Epigastric hernia
An epigastric hernia is found just above the patient’s navel but below their ribcage and is one of the types of hernias that can be felt when the person exerts themselves. This can be from laughing, coughing or having a bowel movement. Some people have tenderness in the area of an epigastric hernia. The tissue in an epigastric hernia is made up of fat, and a person can have more than one at the same time. They are usually asymptomatic but can be repaired surgically if they cause pain.
3 - Femoral hernia
This type of hernia resembles an inguinal hernia and they can be mistaken for each other. It happens when tissue bulges through weakened muscles in the inner part of the thigh or the groin. It feels like a smallish lump in the patient’s groin area, and though it does resemble an inguinal hernia, it affects women more than men. A femoral hernia may be problematic because it can interfere with the femoral vein and artery, which bring blood to and send blood from the person’s leg. Patients and doctors often choose surgery to correct this type of hernia because of the risk associated with it.
4 - Incisional hernia
This type of hernia is a risk after a person has had major abdominal surgery, especially if they have had a long incision down the middle of their abdomen. Some women get incisional hernias after they have given birth via Caesarean section. Making sure that the patient heals completely after their surgery is one of the ways to prevent this type of hernia, though it can develop years after the surgery. It is more of a risk in people who are older, obese and have taken certain medications.
5 - Hiatal hernia
A hiatal hernia happens when a small portion of the stomach ends up pushing through a weak spot in the diaphragm. A person's diaphragm normally has an opening called the hiatus which allows the esophagus to pass through it to the stomach, and the hiatus gives this particular hernia its name. People who have hiatal hernias often suffer from acid reflux, and some people are born with it. Doctors classify hiatal hernias from Type I to Type IV. The types depend on where the hernia is actually located. An overwhelming majority, 95 percent, of these hernias fall into the Type 1 category. This means that the patient’s stomach is in its usual place but the area where the esophagus meets it can bulge above the diaphragm.
6 - Umbilical hernia
In an umbilical hernia, the tissue bulges out from a weakened area in the patient’s belly button, which is also called the umbilicus. This type of hernia makes up about 10 percent of all the hernias found in the abdomen. The patient can see the hernia as a bulge around their belly button that grows even more prominent when they cough or have a bowel movement. Rarely, the tissue that bulges in an umbilical hernia becomes strangulated, and the patient must have surgery.
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