Types of Hernia: How to differentiate between them?

A hernia is a medical condition which causes a confined bulge in the groin or abdomen area. A hernia occurs when the tissue or muscle responsible to hold an internal organ sticks out. Frequent bending over, lifting heavy items, or any other physical activity can aggravate both the condition and bulge. This is generally a pain-free and harmless condition, but if ignored for a longer duration, it can result in severe consequences. Hernias are usually quite easy to diagnose, with a simple examination or by feeling the bulge. Patients can either go for correction surgery or opt for the watchful wait.

Types of Hernia

Let us have a look at different types of hernia classified by medical science:

  • Inguinal Hernia – Inguinal hernia is situated in the lower part of the abdomen, above the leg crease or near the public area. It’s called a bilateral inguinal hernia when occurred on both sides of the pubic area. Inguinal hernia can be direct or indirect.
  • Sportsman’s Hernia – This condition occurs due to excess physical exercising and strain. General symptoms include mild to severe pain in the groin area sans any detectable swelling or lump. Patients should try all the possible treatment options before going for the surgery.
  • Femoral Hernia – Inguinal hernia is more common in men, whereas, the femoral hernia is more common in women. Significant weakness in the groin area allows the intestinal sac to enter into the femoral canal. This condition demands immediate medical attention.
  • Incisional hernia – A hernia that occurs at the place of a previously operated area is referred to as an incisional hernia. This condition can occur within days, weeks, months, or even years of surgery. A person suffering from an incisional hernia should immediately consult his doctor as it can expand further.
  • Umbilical Hernia – A hernia that occurs near the navel or belly button is called an umbilical hernia. Naturally weak umbilical cord blood vessels give rise to this condition. This can happen to anyone irrespective of their age group. It’s crucial for adult patients to consult a doctor as umbilical hernia tends to worsen over time.
  • Epigastric Hernia – This kind of hernia is more common in males than females. This condition occurs due to an opening, gap or weakness in the muscles of the upper abdominal wall, between breast bone and umbilicus.
  • Spigelian Hernia – This condition occurs because of a weakness in the muscles of the abdominal wall. It generally happens on the right side of the abdomen. One might not experience any evident lump or swelling as it develops between abdominal wall tissues. This is a rare disorder and can happen in both the genders. The majority of cases are noted in the later stages of life when the tissues start becoming weak. This kind of hernia can occur due to excess physical training, chronic coughing, obesity, heavy lifting, or any abdominal injury.
  • Hiatal Hernia – Hiatal hernia occurs due to a weakness in the diaphragm, that separates the abdominal and chest cavity. This condition gives rise to heartburn, esophagus, acid reflux, pain, and so on. The surgery to repair this hernia is quite complex and requires a longer stay in the hospital.

Hernias are either acquired or congenital. An acquired hernia is the result of excess weight gain, muscle strain, and wear and tear of muscles. Whereas, people who are born with hernia come under the category of congenital hernia!

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