What is Hernia? Its Types, Risk Factors and Treatment


Hernia is a common occurrence among the world population, irrespective of the gender. Studies have revealed that an estimated 5% of the entire population of the world develop Hernia in their lifetime. About 27% of the male population has been observed to develop Hernia while it is 3% in case of females.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is caused when the wall of an organ or a fatty tissue pushes through a weak region of its surrounding muscles. A hernia is most commonly found to develop in the intestinal area when the walls of the intestine somehow push outward through a weak spot on the abdomen.

Hernias can also be formed around the stomach region, upper thigh as well as the groin area. They are mostly never life-threatening from the very initial days of growth. But inguinal hernia surgery is often the best way to prevent hazardous complications.

What causes hernia?

Hernias are a result of both weakness of muscle and strain; the muscle weakness may either be congenital or develop a later stage in life. Depending on what causes hernia, it can either develop quickly in a short time or take a long time. Extreme constipation and diarrhoea or continuous coughing or sneezing can also result in developing a hernia. Those who are obese or even heavy smokers are more susceptible to develop Hernia than others.

What are the common symptoms?

A hernia might not always come with external manifestations for you to understand. But the most common symptoms are associated with pain and discomfort while exercising or lifting heavy objects or any activity that increases the pressure around the abdomen area.

Types of Hernia

There are a few types of Hernia like:

  • Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernia is the most common types constituting for about 70% of all hernia cases, as per the British Hernia Centre (BHC). This type of hernia occurs when the intestine pushes outward through a weak spot on the wall of the lower abdomen, within the inguinal canal.

  • Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia is caused when a part of the stomach pushes upwards through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. Most people over the age of 50 years are affected by hiatal hernia. If a minor develops this condition, then that is caused by some congenital defects.

  • Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernia can affect children and infants less than 6 months old. This is caused when the intestine pushes outward through the abdominal wall around the belly button area of the baby. As the muscles grow stronger in the babies, umbilical hernia can disappear on their own.

  • Incisional Hernia

These mostly develop after an abdominal surgery, when the intestinal wall tries to bulge out through the incision scar or the surrounding weak muscles.


Risk Factors

Whether you are likely to develop a hernia or not, is determined partly by the genetic setup and your family history. However, people who have a weak colon wall or diverticulitis and a tendency of aneurysms are more susceptible to hernias. Also, inguinal hernias are more common in men while women who have undergone abdominal surgeries tend to develop Hernia later.

Treatment of Hernia

Most types of Hernia never disappear by themselves, and often one needs to undergo inguinal hernia treatment or surgery to get rid of it. However, doctors suggest that if it doesn’t cause you any trouble, you might not have to remove it surgically.

Ultimately, whether you need treatment or not depends on the size and severity of your hernia. Lifestyle changes and medication are also known to bring relief in certain cases.

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