Hernia: Definition, Causes, Types Explained

Hernia can be excruciatingly painful for an individual. If you're experiencing acute pain and a noticeable bulge in your body, it could be a hernia. Learn about the different hernia types here and the primary factors that trigger them.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a condition where an organ forces through an opening in the muscle or connective tissue which is responsible for holding it in place. This is not a life-threatening condition but needs medical/surgical intervention to prevent complications.

More often than not, a hernia takes place between the chest and the stomach, but can also occur in areas like the abdomen and uterus of an individual. In these cases, hernia diagnosis needs to be provided immediately.

What are the causes of hernia?

Consistent pressure and muscle weakness in a particular area of the body contribute to the formation of hernia. They may develop rapidly or over a long period, determined by their causative factors.

The most common hernia causes are:

  • Lifting heavy weights either for exercising or for work
  • Chronic cough caused by conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
  • Constipation over a prolonged period of time, resulting in an increase in abdominal pressure
  • Multiple pregnancies.
  • ObesityAscites or fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
  • Post damage from a surgery or injury.
  • A congenital condition, where the hernia is formed in the womb during developmental stages and is present at birth.

The associated risk factors:

  • Family history.
  • Smoking (weakens the connective tissue).
  • Premature birth or low birth weight.

Most hernias do not cause any significant symptoms and you might not even know that you have one. It may be diagnosed during a routine medical examination for some other ailment until which time it stays undetected. It is common to see hernia in men, women and children. As soon as any hernia symptoms are detected, you should consult your doctor before it's too late.

What are the different types of hernias and their symptoms?

Your medical professional will be able to diagnose the type of hernia in females, men and children. Accordingly, a hernia treatment can be administered based on the symptoms you detect.

Here’s a quick overview of the different hernia types and their possible symptoms:
Inguinal Hernia:

This is the most common type of hernia seen more frequently in males than in females. 

In males the inguinal canal is a pathway for the spermatic cord and blood vessels which leads to the testicles and in women, the inguinal canal has the round ligament which supports the uterus. 

In this type of hernia, the fatty tissue or a part of the intestine protrudes into the groin.

The symptoms of inguinal hernia are :

  • It may present as a bulge in the area on either side of the pubic bone, which becomes more evident when you're upright, or while coughing or straining
  • Pain or discomfort in your groin
  • A heavy or dragging sensation in the groin
  • Weakness or pressure in the groin
  • Sometimes the intestines may move down into the scrotum which may be associated with pain and swelling around the testicles
An inguinal hernia isn't necessarily dangerous. At times it can lead to life-threatening complications.

Femoral Hernia: 

Here the bulge or the swelling is seen in the groin and affects older women.

Umbilical Hernia: 

Here, the swelling is seen through the belly button (umbilicus, navel). This is a common type of hernia in children.

If you’re noticing hernia umbilical symptoms in your kids, ensure they’re undergoing the hernia umbilical surgery on an immediate basis to reduce the pain.

Hiatal or diaphragmatic Hernia: 

In this hernia, a part of the stomach will be pushed into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm (the horizontal sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen). 

It is commonly seen in older patients( >50 years and in obese patients).

 The symptoms of a hiatal hernia will be different and more specific. The lump formed here pushes through the diaphragm, causing chest pain, trouble swallowing, and heartburn.

Incisional Hernia: 

Here the tissue protrudes through the site of an abdominal scar from a previous or old abdominal or pelvic operation.

Epigastric Hernia: 

In this type, the fatty tissue protrudes through the abdominal area between the navel and lower part of the sternum (breastbone)

Spigelian Hernia: 

Here the intestine pushes through the abdomen at the side of the abdominal muscle, below the navel.

Depending on the type of your condition, take an estimate of the hernia operation cost prior to the diagnosis from the expert doctors at MedFin

Diagnosis for hernia:

It is essential to get yourself checked by a medical professional in order to not delay the prognosis and diagnosis of hernia. At MedFin, you can get to know the most affordable

hernia operation cost in India

through doctors that have years of experience and are keeping themselves abreast with the latest industry trends and latest medical equipment.

Start by booking an appointment with one of our doctors at MedFin. Before the procedure, the doctor starts with a physical examination, which is guided with the complaints, the patient has approached the doctor with. The doctor may also suggest imaging to assess the size of the hernia. 
  • A thorough history from the patient
  • Clinical examination is a very vital tool to diagnose.
  • Imaging techniques to assist or confirm the diagnosis such as ultrasound, Computed Tomography, or MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging).Abdominal ultrasound: Use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of the internal structures.
Computed Tomography (CT) scan: 

Computers combined with X-rays to produce images.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan: 

A combination of radio waves and strong magnets to produce images of internal structures.

Barium or Gastrografin X-ray: 

This is suggested if a hiatal or diaphragmatic hernia is suspected. Here the patient will be asked to consume a liquid barium solution or a liquid containing Gastrografin (meglumine sodium and diatrizoate sodium). 

This will be followed by imaging where X-ray images of the digestive tract are taken.

The doctor may also suggest this procedure if a hiatal hernia is suspected.
This procedure involves the introduction of a small tube connected with a small camera connected to a tube into the throat to the esophagus and stomach. 
This will help the doctor visualize the throat, esophagus (food pipe), and stomach.

What are the treatment options for Hernia?

The doctor resorts to surgery when the hernia is growing in size and is causing pain and discomfort. The hernia is repaired by pushing back the bulging tissue back in position and sewing the area. 

It may involve the use of a surgical mesh to hold the tissue in place. The incision is then stitched to conclude the surgery.

The doctor may decide to perform open surgery or a hernia laparoscopic surgery based on your symptoms. Multiple factors contribute to the doctor’s and patient’s decision to go with either one.

You must discuss the average hernia surgery cost if you’re undergoing an open surgery or the hernia laparoscopic surgery cost in case the doctor has recommended you to undertake laparoscopic surgery. Knowing the expenditure is important prior to initiating your surgery as it allows you to choose between different plans that suits you best.

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