What Are Causes and Risk Factors of a Hernia?
Although abdominal hernias can be present at birth, others develop later in life. Some involve pathways formed during fetal development, existing openings in the abdominal cavity, or areas of abdominal wall weakness.
- Any condition that increases the pressure of the abdominal cavity may contribute to the formation or worsening of a hernia. Examples include
- heavy lifting,
- straining during a bowel movement or urination,
- chronic lung disease, and
- fluid in the abdominal cavity.
- A family history of hernias can make you more likely to develop a hernia.
What Are Hernia Symptoms and Signs?
The signs and symptoms of a hernia can range from noticing a painless lump to the severely painful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue that you are unable to push back into the abdomen (an incarcerated strangulated hernia). Abdominal or pelvic pain can be part of the symptoms of many hernias.
- Reducible hernia
- It may appear as a new lump in the groin or other abdominal area.
- It may ache but is not tender when touched.
- Sometimes pain precedes the discovery of the lump.
- The lump increases in size when standing or when abdominal pressure is increased (such as coughing).
- It may be reduced (pushed back into the abdomen) unless very large.
- Irreducible hernia
- It may be an occasionally painful enlargement of a previously reducible hernia that cannot be returned into the abdominal cavity on its own or when you push it.
- Some may be chronic (occur over a long term) without pain.
- An irreducible hernia is also known as an incarcerated hernia.
- It can lead to strangulation (blood supply being cut off to tissue in the hernia).
- Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may occur, such as nausea and vomiting.
- Strangulated hernia
- This is an irreducible hernia in which the entrapped intestine has its blood supply cut off.
- Pain is always present, followed quickly by tenderness and sometimes symptoms of bowel obstruction (nausea and vomiting).
- The affected person may appear ill with or without fever.
- This condition is a surgical emergency.
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017
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