What is a Hernia?
A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. If the opening or weakness is large enough, a portion of the organ may be able to poke through the hole. Imagine an inner tube poking through a hole in an old tire — that’s what a hernia is like. This can allow a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue to push into the sac. The hernia can cause discomfort, severe pain, or other potentially serious problems that could require emergency surgery.
Hernias happen more frequently in certain parts of the body, like the abdomen, groin and upper thigh area, and belly button area. They also can happen in any place where you may have had an incision from surgery.
You may be born with a hernia (congenital) or develop one over time.
A hernia does not get better over time, nor will it go away by itself. There are no exercises or physical therapy regimen that can make a hernia go away.
Types of Hernias
- Inguinal hernia is a bulge in the groin. It is more common in men. It may go all the way down into the scrotum.
- Femoral hernia is a bulge in the upper thigh, just below the groin. This type is more common in women than men.
- Incisional hernia can occur through a scar if you have had abdominal surgery in the past.
- Umbilical hernia is a bulge around the belly button. It occurs when the muscle around the belly button does not close completely after birth.
- Hiatal hernia, a small opening in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach to move up into the chest.