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Hernia (cont.)

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Where are abdominal hernias located?

The most common location for hernias is the groin (or inguinal) area. There are several reasons for this tendency. First, there is a natural anatomical weakness in the groin region which results from incomplete muscle coverage. Second, the upright position of human posture results in a greater force that pushes toward the bottom of the abdomen, thereby increasing the stress on these weaker tissues. The combination of these factors over time breaks down the support tissues, enlarging any preexisting hole, or leads to a tear, resulting in a new hole.

Several different types of hernia may occur, and frequently coexist, in the groin area. These include indirect, direct, and femoral hernias, which are defined by the location of the opening of the hernia from the abdomen to the groin. Another type of hernia, called a ventral hernia, occurs in the midline of the abdomen, usually above the navel (umbilicus). This type of hernia is usually painless. Hernias can also occur within the navel (umbilical hernia).

What are abdominal hernia symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of a hernia include pain or discomfort and a localized swelling somewhere on the surface of the abdomen or in the groin area. A hernia can also be painless and only appear as a bulging. The pain may be intermittent or constant and the swelling may decrease or be absent, depending on the amount of pressure in the abdomen. Constant, intense pain at a bulge site may indicate a medical emergency and should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.

What are the different types of abdominal hernias?

Epigastric, umbilical, incisional, lumbar, internal, inguinal, hiatal, and Spigelian hernias all occur at different sites of the abdomen in areas that are prone to anatomical or structural weakness. With the exception of internal hernias (within the abdomen), these hernias are commonly recognized as a lump or swelling and are often associated with pain or discomfort at the site. Internal hernias can be extremely difficult to diagnose until the intestine (bowel) has become trapped and obstructed because there is usually no external evidence of a lump.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/7/2014


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