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Common Types of Hernias (cont.)

IN THIS ARTICLE

Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia can occur after surgery in the belly. Most of the time, it occurs along a vertical (up and down) incision. This type of hernia can occur in people who:

  • Are very overweight.
  • Are older.
  • Have used steroid medicines.
  • Have had lung problems after surgery.
  • Have had a wound infection after surgery or have had more than one surgery using the same incision.

An incisional hernia can be large and painful. Talk with your doctor about your treatment choices.

Epigastric Hernia

An epigastric hernia (say "eh-pih-GAS-trik HER-nee-uh") occurs when fat pushes through a weak part of the belly wall. It occurs in the middle of the belly between the breastbone and the belly button, or navel. Most of the time, these hernias are small. You can have more than one at a time.

Epigastric hernias often have no symptoms. But they can cause pain in the upper belly. You may need surgery to repair an epigastric hernia. Talk with your doctor about your treatment choices.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia (say "hi-AY-tul HER-nee-uh") is different from other types of hernias, because it involves the stomach instead of the intestine. It occurs when part of your stomach bulges up through your diaphragm and into your chest. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates your belly from your chest. You can't feel a hiatal hernia or see a bulge.

Most people with a hiatal hernia have no symptoms. But one symptom you may have is heartburn. If you often have symptoms, or if they are very bad, you may also have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A hiatal hernia can lead to GERD. It's common to have both problems at the same time.

If you don't have symptoms, you don't need treatment. But if your symptoms bother you, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes or medicines. For more information, see the topic Hiatal Hernia.

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