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Hernia FAQs (cont.)

What are hernia symptoms and signs?

For a person with no symptoms, the doctor may discover a lump in the groin or abdomen during a medical exam. Most commonly, people with hernias notice a lump or tenderness and pressure or pain upon bending, coughing, or straining. The lump may be easier to feel when the person stands up. This is a sign of a reducible hernia, meaning it can be pushed back into the abdomen. When a person stands, the lump sticks out noticeably because of the pull of gravity.

Other symptoms of a hernia include the following:

  • A heavy feeling in the groin or abdomen
  • Pain and swelling in the scrotum (men)
  • Pain with a bowel movement or during urination
  • Pain when lifting or moving something heavy
  • Pain later in the day, especially if you have been standing a lot

In children, a parent may notice a lump when the baby cries or coughs or strains for a bowel movement.

An irreducible hernia cannot be pushed back inside. Any time a hernia can not be reduced, you should contact your health-care provider. Sometimes these types of hernias can become strangulated. The tissue, usually intestine, can become trapped and the blood supply cut off. If this happens, pain, tenderness, and symptoms of a bowel obstruction (nausea and vomiting) develop. The person may develop a fever. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery to repair the hernia.

Even if a person has no major symptoms, to avoid complications, the hernia should be discussed with a doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015

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