Do I have a hernia?

Hernias are broadly categorized as congenital hernias and acquired hernias.

When a hernia is present at birth, it is called a congenital hernia. Undetected for weeks, months and even years, these hernias manifest themselves much later in life as a result of weakness that existed during birth.

The muscles or connective tissues of the abdomen weaken during your lifetime, causing a hernia. These are called acquired hernias.

Who can develop a hernia?

Anybody can develop a hernia. The risk of developing a hernia is higher:

  • Males - The males natural weakness in the groin unsupported space is left in the groin once the testicles have descended into the scrotum
  • When you are born with a congenital weakness, it will reveal itself
  • Family history of hernia or weakness in muscles and tissues
  • Lifting heavy objects when you are not used to lifting them
  • Chronic and heavy coughing and sneezing can tear weak muscles
  • If you are obese, the extra weight will stretch and weaken your abdominal muscles
  • Frequent constipation and straining during bowel movement will put pressure on weak tissues
  • An injury or sports accident that tears the connective tissues of the abdomen
  • Adverse smoking can affect the body's ability to promote enzymes responsible for cell creation and growth

Checking for the signs and symptoms of a hernia

Hernia usually does not cause any major problems. An individual can live with a hernia for most of their life. But they may cause pain and complications associated with it could arise.

Reducible hernias are the most common of all hernias. Which means you can lie down and put your finger and push the bulge back. Due to the gravity, the bulge disappears, and the contents reduce back into the abdomen or their original location.

When you cannot push the bulge back even with the help of a physician, then it is not reducible. With this kind of a hernia, there is a risk of incarceration or strangulation.

Pain ranges from mild to severe while straining, lifting heavy objects or coughing, exertion and long periods of standing. Trapped or strangulated hernias can arrest blood supply to the organ or block intestinal flow.

To check for a hernia see where the swelling is located. The surface areas of the abdomen, groin or thigh are usually swollen. Sometimes the swelling may not be painful. See if the bulge can flatten, if not seek immediate medical help.