A hernia is a bulge or tear in the muscles of your abdomen that occurs when the abdominal muscles weaken. The inner lining of the abdomen and even a portion of intestines can push through the tear, causing pain and other symptoms.
Hernia can be a congenital defect that a person is born with, or it can develop over time due to body strain or injury.
There are several different types of hernias, and they are typically defined by the part of the body that they impact. One of the most common areas for a hernia to occur is the groin, which is called an inguinal hernia. Hernias at the belly button (umbilical) are also common, as are hernias that occur in the area where a previous medical operation was performed (incisional). There are other less common forms of hernia, as well.
If a hernia is present, you’ll usually know it because of the symptoms that it presents. For one, you can often feel the bulge of a hernia present under the skin, and you will likely feel pain from the hernia when you strain it by bending, lifting and other activities. The pain can be strong and sharp or take the form of more of a dull ache. When the pain gets severe and persistent, this is a sign that the hernia demands immediate medical attention, though all forms of hernia should be treated by a doctor.
When a hernia needs to be repaired, it requires a surgery. This typically involves repairing the damaged portion of the body and patching the tear in the abdominal muscle with mesh. The procedure is often now done with a laparoscope, a thin, snake-like instrument that helps to make the procedure less invasive than a typical open surgery.
SOURCES: Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.