What are causes and symptoms of hernia?


What is a Hernia?

Hernia is a medical condition in which there is a rupture in the walls of the abdomen, and it causes a protrusion of an organ or tissue through the opening. It is accompanied by swelling and pain. The organs that are prone to developing hernias include the intestines, uterus, spleen, and bladder.

What are the Causes of Hernia?

Hernia is basically a bulge or protrusion into a part of the body created with the help of some kind of defect present in the structure that surrounds it. In layman's terms, hernia is a condition in which an internal part of our body pushes and bulges into the outer wall of our body. This bulging may or may not poke out from the surface of our skin making it a visible lump.

The main causes of hernia are as follows:

  1. Obesity: Experts say that obesity is one of the most common causes of hernia. When you gain excessive weight, your stomach stretches excessively and the inner muscles are unable to support the weight. This is when hernia occurs.
  1. Infection: A small infection in your stomach can also lead to a hernia. This happens when you develop small pockets in your stomach wall that enlarge over time leading to swelling.
  1. Constipation: Constipation is also one of the reasons behind hernia.
  1. Weak Abdominal Wall: The layers of the abdominal wall are the stomach, abdominal muscle, and the lining of the abdomen called the rectus sheath. When the abdominal muscles are weak, the abdomen has more space in it, allowing an organ to protrude through.

What are the Symptoms of Hernia?

Hernia is a condition in which the intestines bulge through an abdominal wall. It can occur at any age and cause a great deal of discomfort. While some hernias are relatively minor, they can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

The most common signs and symptoms include swelling in the area of the hernia, and a bulge or a lump where the hernia occurs. It can also be painful to touch or rub over the lump. See your doctor if you have any questions about your symptoms or if they persist.

Types of Hernia

A hernia is often more of an inconvenience than a serious medical problem but can lead to serious complications if left untreated. There are several types of hernias including direct and indirect hernias. Indirect hernias often come with symptoms like discomfort or pain in the abdomen, seminal fluid appearing in the urine, weak anal sphincter, and bedsores due to constant pressure on one specific area of the body. A direct hernia is usually caused when the wall of the abdominal muscles becomes weak. That allows a portion of the intestine to push through the abdominal wall. 

Hernias are typically categorized as:

  1. Hiatal Hernia: This type occurs when part of the stomach pokes up into the chest through the diaphragm muscle. This may result in heartburn and difficulties in swallowing. Hiatal hernias are common and are usually not dangerous if they are small and do not have any symptoms as well. Hiatal hernias become problematic when they get larger and push against nearby organs like the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) or the lungs. This may cause pain in the chest or difficulty swallowing.
  2. Inguinal Hernia: Inguinal hernia is a painless swelling of the abdominal muscles. It is also referred to as a groin hernia. The swelling may occur in either one or both sides of the groin. An inguinal hernia develops when a portion of the intestine protrudes through an opening in the muscle or membrane wall that normally covers it. It can occur at any age but is more common in adults. The risk of developing an inguinal hernia in men is twice as large as in women.
  1. Umbilical Hernia: It is said to be a weak point at the abdomen, which results in the organs protruding through that area. The main reason for this kind of hernia can be due to the lack of enough muscle mass around the abdomen. The occurrence of an umbilical hernia is not very common and can raise concerns among parents during pregnancy. Reasons for this can be due to some major surgeries or even repeated strain on the lower abdomen area. A few early symptoms associated with an umbilical hernia can be pain when you make sudden movements, swelling, and also very thinning of the abdominal wall.

Take Away

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ from its usual position. It occurs when the lining of the abdominal cavity tears or a piece of muscle breaks through the surrounding tissue. This allows an organ to be pushed out through the tear in the lining. Common causes for a hernia include heavy lifting or straining, obesity, childbirth, and ageing.

Hernias are most common in older people who may have had a previous injury, such as a tear in the lining of the abdomen or surgical scarring resulting from previous surgery. Hernia can also be caused due to weak spots in the abdominal wall muscles or due to a family history of hernia. There are several ways to prevent hernia like a good diet, quitting smoking, physical activity, and good body posture.

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