Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

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When fatty tissue or an organ of the body does not stay in place, but rather pushes through connective tissues or muscle of surrounding areas, your doctor will diagnose you with a hernia. Often, this is not a serious disease. Many go through life with no symptoms. For those who do have symptoms though, the first thing the doctor will need to determine is what type of hernia you have.


Certain types of hernias are very common. Inguinal hernias are the most common, and men tend to have them more often. Here the bladder or intestine protrudes into the inguinal canal found in the groin or through your abdominal wall. Femoral, hiatal, incisional and umbilical hernias are common types, and your doctor may prescribe you with many others.


Any time you have a soft lump in or around the navel, a surgical scar or the groin, you may have a hernia. This lump may not cause you pain or it may be a very severe pain. Nausea and vomiting. This is more common when a portion of the intestine, or other organ, becomes trapped.


Many things can lead to a hernia. A congenital defect at birth can play a role. You may have a hiatus that is larger than usual. Umbilical hernias are the result of abdominal muscles not closing properly after the baby is delivered. The muscles are designed to remain open until delivery in order to allow the umbilical cord to pass through.

Risk Factors

If you have a family history of hernias, you are more at risk of developing one yourself. Age is another risk factor which plays a role in hernia development. Other medical conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can increase your risk. Pregnant women are more likely to develop a hernia due to the stretching of muscles.

When muscles are weak, a hernia is more likely to occur. Muscles become weak for a number of reasons. Smoking, overexertion and poor nutrition are three that need to be looked at to see if you are at a higher risk of developing a hernia. Race plays a role in certain types of hernias also.


Treatment for a hernia will depend on many factors. Age and overall health are two that your doctor will look at. If your baby is born with a hernia, the doctor will likely recommend that you allow it to close on its own. This may be true for other types of hernias also.

Surgery is often recommended for hernias. This procedure is known as a herniorrhaphy. If your hernia becomes trapped, emergency surgery may be required. In other cases, your doctor may recommend that the hernia be monitored.