Abdominal Wall Hernia
An abdominal hernia is a bulge that appears in the abdomen when an organ (usually the small intestine) pushes through an opening or weakened area in the muscle or tissue, such as the abdominal wall, that generally holds it in place. This condition is extremely common, especially amongst the male population. Specific types of abdominal hernias include:
- Umbilical hernias that occur around the navel, a common condition in babies but also occurs in adults, often due to obesity, pregnancy or excess fluid in the abdomen
- Epigastric hernias which form in natural defects in the upper abdominal wall
- Incisional hernias form through a surgical incision in the abdominal wall, often many years after the surgery was done
If any of the above types of hernias become stuck and can’t be pushed back into the abdomen, it is called an incarcerated hernia. If it swells too much, it can become “strangulated,” a condition where blood flow to the small intestine may be cut off. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort when coughing, lifting, exercising or straining to make a bowel movement or urinate. The pain may improve with rest.
- Pain when sitting or standing for a long time.
Symptoms of a strangulated inguinal hernia:
- Extreme tenderness/redness on or near bulge
- Sudden onset of pain that continues to worsen
- Rapid pulse
Surgery becomes necessary if the hernia is growing and/or causing pain. Hernia surgery can be done with open hernia repair, requiring an incision, or laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Many times the surgery is able to restore the shape and tone of the abdominal wall by putting muscles back where they were originally.Previous Page Last Review Date: April 17, 2020