What is hernia pain?
A hernia is a medical condition when organs, tissues, or intestines start pushing through their surrounding connective tissues. While hernias typically occur in the abdominal wall, they can also appear in other parts of the body.
Hernias can become painful and cause a bulge-like appearance because of additional pressure from bending over or lifting something heavy. It is a good idea to seek advice from a doctor if you find yourself experiencing hernia pain along with other symptoms.
Abdominal hernias are a common occurrence across different age groups. However, men over 40 are more likely to have the condition. It’s possible for you to be born with a weakness in your muscles or tissues that develops into a hernia later in life.
Signs and symptoms of a hernia
You can have a hernia without experiencing any pain. One of the first signs that people may notice is a bulge appearing in the affected area. It may only appear when you perform an action like coughing or jumping. The bulge may disappear when you lie down. Other symptoms of a hernia can include:
Types of hernias
You can determine the type of hernia you have based on where it forms.
Inguinal hernias result from a small part of the bowel pushing through the abdominal wall into the groin area. An inguinal hernia may also contain part of the intestine.
There are two different types of inguinal hernias:
- Direct: A direct inguinal hernia results from a weak spot developing in the lower muscles of your belly
- Indirect: Indirect inguinal hernias occur when the inguinal canal, which is an opening in the abdominal wall, does not close properly before you are born
Femoral hernias appear in the upper part of the thigh, around your groin area. It’s often caused by the bowel pushing through a tear or other weakness in the abdomen. This hernia form can prevent blood from making its way to the herniated bowel.
Umbilical hernias develop around the belly button in babies. They form when part of the intestine loop pushes through a small opening in a fetus’ abdominal muscle, called the umbilical ring. Most umbilical hernias close naturally by the time a child reaches the age of five.
Incisional hernias typically happen when tissue protrudes from the site of a surgical scar that still needs to heal. While they usually cause less severe complications than other types of hernias, you will need to have surgery to repair the condition.
Epigastric hernias are usually the result of tissue pushing through your abdominal wall in the area between your breastbone and belly button. They usually occur when there is a problem that keeps your abdominal muscles from properly coming together. Epigastric hernias are more likely to appear in males.
Causes of a hernia
Besides the causes for specific types of hernia, weakened abdominal muscles and connective tissues are the most common reasons why hernias form. Risk factors that could increase your chances of developing a hernia include:
Diagnosis for a hernia
You should visit a doctor if you notice any unexplained bulges or experience more severe symptoms like hernia pain. They may be able to detect the hernia by performing a physical exam. They may also order additional tests to determine the extent of your current condition, including:
Treatments for a hernia
The recommendations your doctor might offer to treat your condition will depend on your health and the hernia type. They might ask you to make lifestyle changes like eating healthier and getting more exercise to see if anything changes. Your physician may also prescribe medications that can help you manage your hernia symptoms.
If other methods fail, your doctor might present you with options for surgery. The two forms of surgery typically use to treat hernias include:
- Laparoscopic surgery: Your surgeon makes small cuts in the hernia area to allow access to repair the hernia
- Open repair surgery: More involved hernias may require the surgeon to make larger cuts to access the full hernia
Doctors typically place a surgical mesh in the hernia area to provide additional support to the muscles and tissues. A hernia can reoccur after a surgery. You should inform your doctor of any continuing hernia pain.
Latest Chronic Pain News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
InformedHealth.org: "Hernias: Overview."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Umbilical Hernia."
KidsHealth: "Epigastric Hernias."
Mount Sinai: "Femoral hernia."
Mount Sinai: "Incisional Hernias."
News in Health: "Battling a Bulging Hernia."
Radiopaedia: "Direct inguinal hernia."
U.S. Food & Drug Administration: "Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants."
Top When Should I Worry About Hernia Pain Related Articles
What Causes Abdominal Pain?Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Abdominal Pain PicturesAbdominal pain is a symptom of many possible conditions including appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and other conditions. It may accompany constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Find out the potential causes of pain in the abdomen and learn when you should see a doctor.
Children's Abdominal PainAbdominal pain in children can be more than just a tummy ache. What are the common causes of abdominal pain in children? Learn about pediatric abdominal pain symptoms and treatments for stomach pain in children.
Chronic PainChronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Direct vs. Indirect HerniaDirect and indirect hernia are both inguinal hernias. Both types of hernias may cause a visible bulge in the groin area. Weakness in the muscle of the abdominal wall causes a direct hernia. A birth defect causes an indirect hernia. Hernias that can't be pushed in need surgery.
Hernia (Abdominal Hernia, Types, and Surgery)A hernia occurs when an organ or piece of tissue protrudes from the space in which it is normally contained. Symptoms of a hernia include pain, nausea, vomiting, bowel obstruction, and fever. Hernias are diagnosed by a physical exam and imaging tests. Some hernias may be held in place with a supportive belt. Other hernias require surgical repair. The prognosis of people who undergo elective hernia repair tends to be good.
Hernia Quiz: Test Your Medical IQExactly what is a hernia and why do we get them? Take this quiz to learn causes, symptoms, treatments and home remedies for this common condition.
Hernias: Causes, Types, and TreatmentsHernias often don't cause many symptoms, but they can lead to some serious problems. Use this WebMD slideshow to help yourself learn about what to look for and how they’re treated.
Hiatal HerniaHiatal hernia is a condition in which a thin membrane of tissue connects the esophagus with the diaphragm becomes week, and a portion of the stomach slides up into the esophagus. Causes include obesity, pregnancy, straining during a bowel movement, aging, and ascites. There are generally no symptoms of a hiatal hernia, and it is discovered during another medical procedure to test for GERD, or other swallowing problems.
How Do You Treat and Repair an Umbilical Hernia?Hernias develop when an internal part of the body pushes through a weak point of muscle or tissue. Learn what medical treatments can help your umbilical hernia and ease your symptoms.
Inguinal Hernia: CausesHernia is when part of a tissue or an organ bulges through a weak point in the body. There are various types of hernias occurring in different parts of the body.
Pain ManagementPain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include:
- complex regional pain syndrome,
- interstitial cystitis,
- and irritable bowel syndrome.
Pain QuizIs pain all in the brain? Take the Pain Quiz to learn everything you've ever wanted to know about the unpleasant sensation we call pain.
Pain Management: Surprising Causes of PainWhat’s causing your pain? Learn the common causes of lower back pain, as well as pain in the knee, stomach, kidney, shoulder, chest, gallbladder, heel, sciatic nerve, neck, hip, foot and other parts of the body. Find pain management tips that work to help lower pain triggers, as well as other pain treatments.
Stomach Pain: Causes, Types and PreventionSometimes, you may have pain/discomfort in a particular part of your belly or all over the belly for a short or long period of time. Stomach pain may result from a variety of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, constipation, stomach flu, gallstones, kidney stones and a variety of other conditions.
Tummy Trouble QuizTummy Troubles? Get a better idea of what's causing the nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, pain, and other gastrointestinal discomforts and problems. Take the Tummy Troubles Quiz!
What Causes an Umbilical Hernia?What is an umbilical hernia and how are they caused? Learn more about umbilical hernias, how umbilical hernias happen, and what to expect if you or your baby has an umbilical hernia.