General and colorectal surgeons focus primarily on diagnosing and treating conditions of the abdominal area. One of the most common ailments of the abdomen is hernia. A hernia is a sac of the lining of the abdominal cavity which has pushed through a defect in the abdominal wall. They are often recognizable by a bulge or pain.
In most cases the hernia pushes through the abdominal defect only when pressure is applied to the affected area, such as when bending, lifting or straining. It should be possible with gentle pressure, to push the hernia back into place. Hernias will generally increase in size over time, and sometimes a hernia can become trapped by the abdominal muscles, known as incarceration. When this occurs, the blood circulation in the area can become compromised and urgent surgery becomes necessary.
Our expert general and colorectal surgeons understand the inconvenience hernia pain can cause when completing daily tasks. They are dedicated to healing your hernia and getting you back to great health.
Common Symptoms of Hernia:
• Pain in the Abdomen or Groin
• Bulge or Swelling
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
• A hernia which cannot be gently pushed back into place.
• Nausea, Vomiting or Fever
• Discoloration of the Hernia
Types of Hernias
Hernias can occur anywhere along the abdominal wall or in the groin area. They are classified by their location in the body and include:
• Hiatal Hernias occur when an upper section of the stomach pushes into the chest.
• Incisional Hernias occur when tissues push through a weak section of a scar from previous abdominal surgeries.
• Umbilical Hernias occur when tissues pushes through a weakness in the belly button, usually from improper closure after birth.
• Femoral Hernias are most common in women and occur when tissues push through the abdominal wall in the upper portion of the thigh.
• Inguinal Hernias are the most common type of hernia and usually occur in men. They occur in the groin and can even travel into the scrotum.
Causes and Symptoms
There is no direct cause of hernias. In adults, they often develop overtime from repeated stress to the abdominal wall due to heavy lifting or straining. Those with a family history of hernias may be predisposed to them. Hernias are common in children, with 1 in 20 born developing an inguinal hernia. This is almost always a result of a defect in the abdominal wall.
Surgery is the only way to completely heal a hernia. Though patients may choose not to operate on their hernia right away, in most cases the surgery will be necessary. This is due to the tendency for hernias to increase in size over time and the potential for blood circulation to be cut off.
Today surgeons are able to perform hernia surgery laparoscopically. Laparoscopic procedures have lower risk for infection, quicker recovery times and less potential of scarring.