How Is a Hernia Diagnosed?

Usually, a physical examination would suffice to diagnose a hernia. The swelling is visible when standing upright, and it can be felt with your hand placed directly on it and the bearing the area down. Femoral or obturator hernias are difficult to detect and may require ultrasound. They are characterized by recurrent pelvic pain. Abdominal x-rays will be required to detect the presence of a bowel obstruction.

If a hernia is obvious and visible, no other tests or exams may be required for an otherwise healthy individual.

The doctor will look for physical symptoms of hernia such as:

  • A dull ache in the body area or the groin
  • Pain while lifting or straining with no obvious lump formations
  • Feeling the area while increasing abdominal pressure such as telling you to cough
  • The potential pathway is felt for a patient with suspicion of an indirect inguinal hernia; the skin of the scrotum may be inverted to look for the malady
  • Unless if a hernia is discovered during a physical examination, the examiner may ask you when it was first noticed; if the lump can be pushed back or does it appear and go away; if the lump has grown larger and if it is painful
  • Discomfiture from the hernia will be examined
  • A visual test is conducted to detect the existence of an umbilical hernia since the location is almost always the belly button ??? usually occurring in infants and children


Ultrasound ??A dynamic abdominal sonography for hernia or DASH, is recommended as the gold standard for radiographic recognition of an incisional hernia. With a positive predictive value of 91% and a negative predictive value of 97%, DASH accurately identifies hernias that are missed by the CT. Thick hernia sacs are difficult to identify on radiography. Ultrasounds are extremely valuable in the detection of occult inguinal hernias in patients with recurrent inguinal pain and the ailment undetectable upon clinical examination.

CT Scan ??Particularly useful in the diagnosis of a hiatal hernia, the CT scan clearly accurately depicts the anatomy of the intrathoracic stomach especially when there is a suspicion of a volvulus. It helps in staging when a patient develops carcinoma that complicates the hiatal hernia. Dehiscence of > 15mm of the diaphragmatic crura can be noticed.