What is Hernia: Types, Causes & Symptoms
Hernia is a condition where an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue that holds it. It has been seen to occur in the upper thigh, belly, and groin areas. To prevent the dangerous complications of hernias, medications and surgery are usually recommended.
For diagnosing a hernia, a physical examination is usually enough. During this examination, our doctor will check for a bulge in the affected area. They ask the patient to stand, strain, or cough which makes the hernia more prominent. They will also ask about the patient’s medical history and symptoms.
If the doctor cannot locate the bulge, imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound are needed for a more accurate diagnosis.
Types Of Hernia
A hernia is of three types:
- Inguinal Hernia occurs in the majority of patients. The intestines pass through a weak spot or tear away from the lower abdominal wall (inguinal canal).
- In a Hiatal Hernia, a part of the stomach pushes the diaphragm and moves into the chest. This leads to a condition called gastro-oesophageal reflux, where the stomach contents leak backward into the oesophagus. Gastro-oesophageal reflux causes a burning sensation.
- An umbilical hernia is seen in children and babies less than 6 months to 1-year-old.
- Incisional hernia is seen in those who have had abdominal surgery. The intestines push
through the weakened abdominal tissues in this type of hernia.
What are the causes?
A hernia may occur due to several factors – weak abdominal walls (a congenital defect), age,
chronic cough, and damage to abdominal muscles after injury or surgery.
Weakening of the abdominal muscles may happen due to pregnancy, constipation, heavy
weightlifting, abdominal fluid (ascites), gaining weight, and persistent cough or sneezing.
What are the symptoms?
For each type of hernia, the symptoms are different. The most common symptom of a hernia is the presence of a bulge or lump in the affected area.
Other symptoms may be:
Pain/Discomfort in the affected area
● Heaviness in the abdomen,
● Burning or aching sensation at the site of the bulge
● Acid reflux
● Chest pain
● Difficulty in swallowing
Risk and Complications
Some of the prominent risk factors for hernia are gender, family history, medical conditions (including chronic cough and constipation), excess weight, pregnancy, premature birth, and others.
A hernia may not pose an immediate threat to life. Complications, however, can result in
death if neglected.
The complications that occur are:
● Pressure on surrounding tissues causing severe pain
● Vomiting and nausea
● Inability to have a bowel movement, and ultimately strangulation leads to the death
of the affected bowel tissue.
In case you are looking for the best doctors to treat your Hernia, we have already jotted
down the best ones at Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital, Ghaziabad.
Dr. Ashish Gautam is a very renowned and highly experienced bariatric, gastrointestinal, and
trauma surgeon. After completing his surgical training at S.N. Medical College, Maulana
Azad Medical College, Lok Nayak Hospital, and Sushruta Trauma Centre, he pursued his
fellowship in minimal access and bariatric surgery.
He possesses enormous experience, having performed more than 20,000 laparoscopic
procedures including lap colorectal, lap bariatric, and laparoscopic common bile duct.
He is known for his experience in video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures for diseases of
the chest and has also established a benchmark in abdominal and thoracic trauma care by
maintaining standard trauma protocol.
He is well known for his laparoscopic surgeries in the field of complex hernias, such as
laparoscopic inguinal and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair. Besides this, Dr. Gautam
performs laparoscopic common bile duct surgeries for common bile duct stones, wherein
ERCP/open surgery was the only option earlier.
He is well known for his experience in serious trauma and gunshot injury surgery as well as
in treating breast disease and cancer surgeries. He possesses vast experience in thyroid and
- Lap bariatric surgery
- Laparoscopic common bile duct surgery
- Lap colorectal surgery
- Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair
- Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (Keyhole chest surgery)
- Serious trauma and gunshot injury surgeries
- Laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair
- Thyroid and parathyroid surgery through advanced minimal access
What are the treatments and drugs involved while treating Hernia?
Lifestyle changes are advised for patients with a hiatal hernia. These include avoiding heavy
meals, not bending after a meal, and keeping the body weight under control. Spicy and
tomato-based foods should be avoided as they may cause acid reflux or heartburn. When a
hernia becomes large and causes pain, the doctor may advise immediate Hernia surgery.
The hole in the abdominal wall is closed with a surgical mesh. Laparoscopic surgery is
preferred over open surgery as it causes less damage to the surrounding tissue. However,
laparoscopic surgeries come with a few limitations. When the intestine has moved into the
scrotum, only open surgery is advised. The most effective way to treat a hernia is surgery.
Our surgeons at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre will make several incisions in the
abdomen to identify the sac containing the bulge.
The surgeon then pushes the hernia back into position and strengthens the abdominal wall with stitches or a mesh. Hernias have a high rate of recurrence, and a surgical mesh can prevent a recurrence more effectively. In most cases, the patient can return home in a few hours after the surgery, and full recovery may take up to six weeks.