What is a hernia?

A hernia means something coming through. It most frequently occurs when an organ or internal tissue pokes through a hole or weakness in your abdominal muscle wall.

In many cases, people have no or very few hernia symptoms. You may notice a swelling or lump in your stomach area or groin. Often you have no hernia pain.

If your hernia causes sudden pain and especially if it can’t be pushed back in, you should seek urgent medical care. It may mean that your hernia is trapped or tightly pinched where it pokes through the muscle wall (obstruction) and in extreme cases it may cut off the blood supply to your intestines and tissues in your abdomen (strangulation).

A hernia is not usually a serious condition but it will not go away without hernia treatment known as a hernia repair.

Are there different types of hernia?

Most hernias are found in the abdomen. Areas of weakness in the abdominal wall where hernias are commonly found include the groin, upper stomach, belly button and, where you have a surgical scar.

  • Inguinal hernias

    the most common hernia, seen more in men, causes a bulge in your groin. The inguinal hernia appears through your inguinal canal, a narrow passage that blood vessels pass through in your abdominal wall and, may reach your scrotum.

  • Femoral hernias

    also a bulge in your groin, relatively uncommon and seen more in women. The femoral hernia happens at the hole in your abdominal wall where the femoral artery and vein pass from the abdomen into your leg.

    • Hiatus hernias – occur in your upper chest area when part of your stomach pushes up into your chest by squeezing through a gap in your diaphragm called the hiatus.

  • Umbilical/periumbilical hernias

    occur at the umbilicus, a natural weakness in your abdominal wall, when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen near your naval.

  • Incisional hernia

    occurs through a scar from past abdominal surgery as tissue pokes through the weak healed site in your abdominal wall.