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Hernias: Types, Symptoms & Repairs

  • Synopsis: Broad range of information on a range of different types of hernias that can occur in the human body.

Definition: Defining the Meaning of Hernia

A hernia is the protrusion of an organ through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it. The main risk is strangulation, which is a surgical emergency. Asymptomatic hernias can be safely observed, but severe pain is a symptom of strangulation. The most common hernias develop in the abdomen, when a weakness in the abdominal wall evolves into a localized hole, or "defect", through which adipose tissue, or abdominal organs covered with peritoneum, may protrude. Another common hernia involves the spinal discs and causes sciatica. A hiatus hernia occurs when the stomach protrudes into the mediastinum through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm.

Main Document

A hernia is a protrusion of a tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the muscle tissue or the membrane by which it is normally contained. The hernia has three parts: the orifice through which it herniates, the hernial sac, and its contents.

A hernia is an opening or weakness in the muscular structure of the wall of the abdomen. This defect causes a bulging of the abdominal wall. This bulging is usually more noticeable when the abdominal muscles are tightened, thereby increasing the pressure in the abdomen.

By far the most hernias develop in the abdomen, when a weakness in the abdominal wall evolves into a localized hole, or "defect", through which adipose tissue, or abdominal organs covered with peritoneum, may protrude. Another common hernia involves the spinal discs and causes sciatica.

Hernias can be classified according to their anatomical location:

Hernia Examples include:

A sportman's hernia is a syndrome characterized by chronic groin pain in athletes and a dilated superficial ring of the inguinal canal, although a true hernia is not present.

Since many organs or parts of organs can herniate through many orifices, it is very difficult to give an exhaustive list of hernias, with all synonyms and eponyms.

Hernia Symptoms:

Hernia Repairs:

Each year, while an estimated 5 million Americans develop hernias, only 700,000 have them surgically repaired. Most physicians believe people avoid treating their hernias because they fear painful surgery. Today, there is little reason to fear. Hernia surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis and patients are able to return to most normal activities in a matter of a few days.

It is generally advisable to repair hernias quickly in order to prevent complications such as organ dysfunction, gangrene, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Most abdominal hernias can be surgically repaired, and recovery rarely requires long-term changes in lifestyle. Uncomplicated hernias are principally repaired by pushing back, or "reducing", the herniated tissue, and then mending the weakness in muscle tissue (an operation called herniorrhaphy).

Hernias usually need to be surgically repaired to prevent intestinal damage and further complications. The surgery takes about an hour and is usually performed on an outpatient basis (which means the patient can go home the same day of the procedure). This surgery may be performed by an open repair (small incision over the herniated area) or by laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive). Your surgeon will determine the best method of repair for your individual situation.

Most patients will be able to go home a few hours after surgery. If needed, a 23-hour extended recovery area is available. Typically, most patients feel fine within a few days after the surgery and resume normal eating habits and activities. Strenuous activity and exercise are restricted for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Awareness RibbonThe official congenital diaphragmatic hernia awareness ribbon, as voted on by CDH parents and survivors, is baby blue, pink and pale yellow with clouds. This awareness ribbon is recognized by members of the Alliance of Congenital Diaphragmatic Diaphragmatic Hernia Organizations. and by CHERUBS, the world's first and largest CDH organization with over 2800 members in 38 countries. April is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month as recognized by Capitol Hill and many governors and mayors. Each year, each U.S. state needs a request in order to issue a Proclamation or Resolution to have March 31st of that year Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day.

Quick Facts: Hernia Causes &

Causes of hiatus hernia vary depending on each individual and include: improper heavy weight lifting, hard coughing bouts, sharp blows to the abdomen, and incorrect posture, obesity, straining during a bowel movement or urination (constipation, enlarged prostate), chronic lung disease, and also, fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). In addition, if muscles are weakened due to poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion, hernias are more likely to occur.

Statistics: Hernia

Groin hernias occur in approximately 2% of the adult population and 4% of infants. Their relative frequencies are:



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