Hernias form when an organ or other tissue pushes through a weak area of your abdominal wall. About 10% of Americans will have a hernia at some points.
Hernias can cause a lot of discomfort, and they can also limit your activities. The good news: Hernia treatment can help by repairing the area, so you can return to the activities you love.
The team at Desert West Surgery customizes hernia treatment plans, helping patients at their three Las Vegas, Nevada, practices relieve symptoms and restore their quality of life. Here are five common hernias they want you to know about.
5 common types of hernias
These five common types of hernias can happen anywhere from the upper part of your chest to the lower part of your belly.
Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. Every year in the U.S., roughly 800,000 surgeries are performed to repair these hernias that typically occur in the lower belly near the groin in an area called the inguinal canal.
If you have an inguinal hernia, you might notice a lump or bulge near your groin that becomes more prominent when you cough. These hernias can cause other symptoms, like:
- Bulging when you strain to lift or have a bowel movement
- Burning or aching near the hernia
- Feelings of heaviness, pressure, or weakness in the groin
- Pain that worsens when bending or lifting
Inguinal hernias tend to be more common among men, and in some cases, they can cause swelling around the testicles, as well.
Femoral hernias are much less common than inguinal hernias. These hernias make up less than 3% of all reported hernias. A femoral hernia forms in the upper thigh, which tends to happen most often in older women.
Symptoms of a femoral hernia include:
- A bulge in your upper thigh near the groin crease
- Pain or aching when standing for long periods
- Pain or aching when lifting heavy objects
Some femoral hernias cause no symptoms.
Incisional or ventral hernia
In anatomy, ventral refers to your abdomen. A ventral hernia happens when tissue “pokes through” a weakness in your abdominal wall. About 20% of ventral hernias are incisional, occurring at older incision sites after the incision has healed.
These hernias are more common among people who resume strenuous physical activities before their surgical incisions are completely healed or who gain a substantial amount of belly weight. About a third of people who have abdominal surgery will develop an incisional hernia.
Umbilical hernias form in an area of weak tissue near your belly button or “umbilicus.” These hernias are most common in babies, but they can happen in adults, too — typically as a result of obesity. Generally speaking, umbilical hernias form below the navel; hernias just above the navel are often referred to as epigastric hernias.
A hiatal hernia happens when your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm muscle, the tough, muscular band that controls your breathing. This muscle acts as a divider between your stomach and your chest. Your esophagus passes through your diaphragm at a small opening called the hiatus. In a hiatal hernia, your stomach pushes up through this opening. Hiatal hernias can cause gastric reflux and painful, chronic heartburn, but sometimes, they cause no symptoms.
Treating your hernia
Hernias do not go away on their own. For more mild symptoms, our team may recommend waiting and observing your hernia, along with some lifestyle changes to reduce strain on the area.
For more severe symptoms, or if your symptoms get worse, we’ll probably recommend surgery to repair the area. During your surgery, the protruding organ or tissue will be placed back in its normal position. Then the weak area will be reinforced, usually with a type of surgical mesh.
Today, most hernias can be repaired using minimally invasive techniques with tiny incisions. Less often, you may need a larger incision for more complex issues. Our team will recommend the best approach for your needs and your recovery.
Don’t ignore hernia symptoms
Even if your hernia symptoms are mild — or if you notice a bulge with no pain — you still need a medical evaluation. During your exam, our team will work with you to develop a treatment plan to keep you healthy and avoid serious and even life-threatening complications, like hernia strangulation.
If you think you have a hernia or if you’ve already been diagnosed with one, don’t delay treatment. Call Desert West Surgery today to schedule a visit at one of our three Las Vegas locations and learn how we can help.