Hernias are relatively common and can affect many men, women, and children at any time in their life. Hernias may arise due to a variety of circumstances. A hernia occurs as a result of a weakening in the abdominal tissues and muscles. This may cause an organ or fatty tissues to slip through the small tear which may result in abdominal pain, other digestive issues, or even be asymptomatic, meaning, not present any symptoms initially.
Often a hernia occurs in between the chest and hips or lower abdomen. However, they may also appear in the upper thigh or even in your groin.
Most hernias are not immediately life-threatening. They typically do not resolve on their own and do require medical attention to diagnose and to treat. Unfortunately, there are times when surgery will be required in order to prevent any life-threatening side-effects.
Symptoms of a Hernia
One of the most common side-effects of a hernia is the presence of a slight lump at the site of pain or in the affected area. For example, inguinal hernias typically present a lump or bulge on either side of the pubic bone at the site where the groin and thigh meet.
It is more common to feel the bulge when you are standing, coughing, or bending over. Often, discomfort and pain will be felt at the site of the hernia. Depending on the type of hernia you have, the symptoms may vary. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Bulge or lump in the groin, scrotum, or noticeable swelling in the scrotum.Pain or discomfort in the groin or abdomen that worsens if you bend over or lift anythingA feeling of heaviness in the groin or abdomenDiscomfort or pain during bowel movements or urinationAbdominal pain, discomfort, or swelling at the end of the day, especially if you were standing most of the day.
In severe cases, a strangulated hernia (a hernia which cuts off the blood supply to the intestines and abdomen), may present symptoms of fever, vomiting, nausea, and severe cramping. If this is the case, you will need to seek immediate medical attention to prevent life-threatening complications.
In many cases, however, a hernia may never present any of the above symptoms. In many cases, a hernia is noticed during a routine medical evaluation or physical or during a check up for an unrelated issue.
What is Hernia Pain Like?
Hernia pain is often described as a mild discomfort, aching, or a sensation of fullness or pressure at the site of the hernia. This discomfort or pain may increase with activity, exercise, or any lifting that may place a strain on the abdomen (i.e. running, heavy lifting, or bearing down during bowel movements). Others may not feel any pain or discomfort for some time.
Does a Hernia Cause Stomach Pain?
In severe cases, the contents of the hernia may become twisted or trapped in the torn muscle in the abdominal wall. This can obstruct the bowels leading to severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and may lead to the inability to have a bowel movement or flatulate. This is known as a hernia strangulation and cuts the blood flow to part of your intestines. As mentioned above, this can be a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. You should consult your doctor if you believe you have a hernia. They can provide medical advice, diagnosis, and look for a strangulation.