Hernia is a general term that refers to an abnormal bulge or protrusion of a tissue through the wall of the cavity in which it is usually located. In other words, hernia is the extrusion of an organ through the tissues, that normally contain it. The condition of hernia is often marked by a weak spot or opening in a body wall, that allows part of the organ to bulge out. The laxity of the muscles give rise to such openings. Hernia can occur in any part of the body. However, it is mostly found to develop in the muscles of the abdominal wall. Hernia can literally affect any individual, irrespective of age and gender.
The symptoms of hernia are highly troublesome. Two most prominent symptoms of hernia are pain, localized swelling somewhere on the abdominal surface or in the region of groin and decrease in general mobility. Hernia does not get cured by itself in majority of the cases. Only a small number of cases have been reported to be fortunate enough to have noticed the natural disappearance of hernia. Since, medical attention is required in most cases, you need to have good knowledge of hernia symptoms to take required action on time.
Signs and Symptoms of Hernia
There are several types of hernia. All the types are more or less characterized by pain or discomfort and burning sensation in the region of swelling. The discomfort increases on coughing and movement. The symptoms of hernia may occur suddenly as well as gradually. The signs and symptoms of a few common types of hernia are described below.
The inguinal hernia symptoms include a protrusion in the groin or scrotum and mild to sharp pain in the region of swelling. The bulge may appear either suddenly or gradually. You may notice its presence after lifting heavy weights, bending, straining, laughing and coughing. In many cases, the protrusion flattens when you lie down. The pain due to hernia often gets worse on bending and lifting. You may experience nausea, vomiting and sudden pain, if a part of the intestine has been trapped in the hernia. Such a type of hernia is called strangulated hernia. It is more common in infants and kids than in adults. The strangulated hernia symptoms in children and infants are nausea, vomiting, frequent crying, refusal to eat. Such an infant or kid needs immediate medical attention. Usually, surgery is performed for treatment. You may experience some other symptoms of inguinal hernia. They can be heaviness, burning sensation in the region of bulge and intense pain that lowers down only when you lie down and take rest.
The umbilical hernia is marked by the presence of a soft swelling or protrusion near the navel or umbilicus. The diameter of the bulge may be anywhere between 0.5 and 5.0 centimeters. Umbilical hernia in children often does not cause any pain and is visible only on performing some strenuous activity. However, umbilical hernia symptoms in men and women are very uncomfortable and often involve intense pain.The size of umbilical hernia in adults is visible during relaxed state. It becomes even more prominent on performing some rigorous physical activity. If umbilical hernia symptoms in women occur post pregnancy, it is often accompanied with infection of the respiratory tract. The change in color of the hernia from red to bluish black indicates blockage of the blood supply. Such a condition is serious and needs emergency medical assistance.
Like all other types of hernia, femoral hernia shows the presence of a lump that cannot be pushed back into its place of origin. The bulge is tender to the touch and enlarges on standing, walking or doing similar physical activities. If the femoral hernia takes a strangulated form, the symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and reluctance to eat. One may experience constipation, as the flow of food content gets blocked. If the femoral hernia has trapped the bladder, the person may have to suffer from some highly uncomfortable medical conditions. Such serious hernia signs and symptoms are urinary frequency, burning sensation in the affected region, hesitancy, frequent infections and formation of stones in the bladder.
The two most common hiatal hernia symptoms are heartburn and gastro-esophageal reflux or GERD. You may feel a burning sensation in the chest accompanied with regurgitation of stomach acid. Hiatal hernia may become strangulated and become serious. In such a severe case, the signs and symptoms may include chest pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, inability to pass gas and constipation. This is a condition of medical emergency.
Surgery is the preferred option for the treatment of majority of hernia types. The aim of hernia treatment by surgery is to push the protruding tissue back into its place. The muscle of the affected cavity is then strengthened by fixing it with a synthetic mesh. Surgery can be carried out in mainly two ways. These are open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. The former will make a large incision in the site of surgery while the latter will make a comparatively very small incision at the site and will be done with the help of a camera and instruments specifically designed for this purpose. Surgery, if done on time, can treat hernia completely and permanently. To get timely medical assistance, you need to identify hernia in your body on time.