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The Different Types of Hernias

What Is a Hernia?

No matter what you make or build, it's the seams that are the hardest part to get right. On a piece of clothing, a loose seam will be prone to tear; make it too tight and it will restrict movement. On a house, that loose board will cause the roof to leak, and if there isn't enough room for expansion, stuff will start to buckle.

As it turns out, the body has numerous seams that need to be made just right so that they don't pull apart and let body parts slide into places they don't belong. The abdomen is surrounded by numerous muscles to keep the stomach, small intestine, and colon where they belong, but if one of these organs starts to slip through a weakness or a hole in the muscles, it's called a hernia. To be fair, many other parts of the body can have organ herniation. By definition, a hernia is a bulge or protrusion of an organ through a muscle or other structure that normally serves to keep it contained. But when people talk about hernias, they are usually talking about the abdomen. And while there are many types of abdominal hernias (hiatal, umbilical, or incisional), mentioning a hernia usually means they are talking about one in about the groin.

The male anatomy is built with three bands of muscles and their thick fascia covering coming together in the groin, or inguinal area, to form a narrow ring that allows the testicle and spermatic cord to descend into the scrotum. If all goes well in the building process for the male body, this area remains solid with a lifetime guarantee. A similar opening is present in women, and they may also develop a groin hernia. But sometimes, the area is a little weaker, and if intra-abdominal pressure increases repeatedly, the fascia starts to give way and the ring tears.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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