What is hernia?
Hernia is a condition wherein an organ bulges and pushes its way through an opening in the abdomen or tissue/muscle that is supposed to hold it in proper place. An example of this would be the intestine breaking through the abdomen wall. Though most commonly seen to happen in the abdomen, a hernia can also affect the areas of the belly button, upper thigh and the region near the groin. They usually don’t pose a threat to life, but if medical intervention isn’t timely, it can certainly lead to other major complications.
The common types of hernia
- Inguinal Hernia: These are the most common, accounting for almost 70 percent of the hernias. This occurs when the intestine bulges and pushes through an opening or a tear in the lower abdomen wall, mostly inside the inguinal canal. This canal is present in the groin. Inguinal hernias are more common in men as compared to women because of the fact that in men, the testicles descend through the inguinal canal immediately after birth and then the canal closes behind them. However, it may happen that the canal doesn’t close properly, thus leaving behind a weak area that is vulnerable to hernias.
- Hiatal Hernia: This occurs when a part of the stomach protrudes all the way up to the chest through your diaphragm. The diaphragm separates the organs present in the chest from those in the abdomen. In children, it is most likely to be a congenital defect; but it’s mostly observed in people who are 50 years old or above. These types of hernias are often the cause behind GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease).
- Umbilical Hernia: This happens in infants below 6 months. In this case, their intestines push through the abdomen wall, near the navel. A distinct bulge is noticeable either in or near their navel, especially when the child is crying. Generally around the time the infant completes the first year of its life, the umbilical hernia resolves itself. If it doesn’t, surgery might be required to address the condition.
- Incisional Hernia: These are most likely to develop post any surgery of the abdomen. In this case, the intestine might bulge and push its way through the incisional scar or any surrounding tissue.