A hernia is a very common medical condition. It occurs when part of an organ bulges through the tissue or muscle that ordinarily holds it in place, allowing the organ to move somewhere it doesn’t belong.
Surgeons perform more than 600,000 hernia repair operations in the United States each year. Hernias can develop in men, women, and children.
Because hernias are so common, Dr. Frank Candela and Dr. David Schreier want you to know six important facts about them.
1. There are different kinds of hernias
Hernias most often develop in your abdomen, but they can also occur in your groin, upper thigh, or belly button.
Here are the main types of hernias in adults:
This occurs when your intestines or a pocket of fat bulge through a weakened muscle in the part of your abdominal wall known as the inguinal canal. In men, this canal holds the testicles in place, and in women, it supports the uterus.
When a portion of your stomach bulges through your diaphragm and into your chest cavity, you have a hiatal hernia.
More common in women than men, a femoral hernia occurs when fatty tissue or part of the intestine bulges through into your outer groin.
An incisional hernia develops after abdominal surgery, when a part of your intestines pushes through a surgical incision or the weakened muscles surrounding an incision.
2. Hernias can result from strain
Certain types of inguinal hernias occur in people whose abdominal muscles become weakened by physical strain or age. About 25% of men and about 2% of women develop an inguinal hernia in their lifetimes.
A frequent cause of inguinal hernias is heavy lifting, like that done by construction workers and weightlifters.
3. Certain factors raise hernia risk
The factors that increase your risk of a hernia include:
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic cough, especially a smoker’s cough
- Family history of hernias
- Frequently lifting heavy objects
- Obesity or excess weight
- Straining to urinate, especially as the result of having an enlarged prostate
4. Hernias can cause a range of symptoms
There are many different symptoms of hernias. These may include:
- A bulge in your groin
- Groin pain that occurs when you lift, strain, exercise, pass a bowel movement, or cough, but goes away when you’re at rest
- Swelling, itching, aching, heaviness, burning, or other discomfort in the groin or scrotum
- Difficulty urinating, constipation, unexplained nausea, or vomiting
- Unusual burping, belching, heartburn, problems swallowing, or pain in your throat or esophagus
- Chest pain
5. Hernias require repair
People sometimes postpone hernia repair because they don’t want to take time off work, or they don’t think the hernia is a serious health condition. But when left untreated, hernias may cause serious problems.
For example, a hernia can block blood supply to the intestines, which can cause life-threatening complications.
6. Hernia repair may be simpler than you think
Thanks to new developments in minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery, Dr. Candela and Dr. Schreier can fix most hernias with tools and techniques that require only tiny incisions.
These surgical procedures bring about excellent results with a lower risk of infection, scarring, blood loss, and other side effects compared with open surgery.
Stop suffering in silence
Don’t wait any longer to have your hernia repaired. At Candela and Schreier Medical Corporation, with offices in West Hills and Thousand Oaks, California, we can fix your hernia and get you back on track fast.
If you suspect you have a hernia, schedule a consultation with Dr. Candela or Dr. Schreier. Call or use our online form to request an appointment today.