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Hernia FAQs (cont.)

What causes a hernia?

Weakness in the abdominal wall may have been present since birth. But this weakness may not cause problems until later in life.

Hernias have other causes:

  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Surgery in the area that creates a weakness in the muscles because of incomplete healing
  • Incision from surgery itself creating a weak spot ( the bigger the incision, the higher the chance to develop an incisional hernia)
  • Family history
  • Premature birth
  • Previous hernia (People who have a hernia on one side may develop a hernia on the other side of the abdomen.)

Some conditions may increase the pressure against the abdominal cavity and cause a muscle to tear and a hernia to form or make a hernia worse:

  • Pregnancy
  • Lifting heavy objects (Some strenuous jobs can cause hernias over time.)
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Coughing from smoking or other lung conditions
  • Sneezing (allergies)
  • Obesity
  • Straining during a bowel movement (with constipation) or urination
  • Exercise
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hernias »

As defined in 1804 by Astley Cooper, ahernia as a protrusion of any viscus from its proper cavity.

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