Hernia

A hernia is tissue from inside the abdomen that bulges out through a weak spot in the muscles of the abdominal wall. The weak spot may have been present since birth or may develop following surgery, violent or chronic coughing, lifting heavy objects, or from aging.

There are several types of hernias:

  • A femoral hernia appears as a bulge on the top of the thigh.
  • A hiatal hernia is a part of the stomach bulging up through the diaphragm (the wall of muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity).
  • An incisional hernia occurs after surgery to the wall of the abdomen.
  • An inguinal hernia occurs when a small portion of the bowel bulges into the groin.
  • An umbilical hernia appears in the belly button. A periumbilical hernia is similar to an umbilical hernia, but occurs next to the belly button.

A person with a hernia often feels pain, pressure or burning, or a feeling that something has given way.

Last Updated: April 29, 2009

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology

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