Hiatal Hernias and Other Types and Symptoms

There are several types of hernias:
•    In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.  About 80% of all hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.
•    In an incisional hernia, the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of previous abdominal surgery.  This type is most common in people with poor wound healing, people who are inactive after abdominal surgery, and smokers.
•    A femoral hernia occurs when the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh.  Femoral hernias are most common in women, especially those who are pregnant or obese.
•    In an umbilical hernia, part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall near the navel. Common in newborns, it also commonly afflicts obese individuals and women who have had many children.
•    A hiatal hernia happens when the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus (into the chest), an opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes.  This can cause reflux or regurgitation of food and stomach acid.
•    A diaphragmatic hernia is caused by a blunt force injury which results in part of the stomach or intestine protruding into the chest cavity through the diaphragm.

Hernias usually occur either because of a natural weakness in the abdominal muscles or from excessive strain on the abdominal muscles, such as the strain from heavy lifting, substantial weight gain, persistent coughing, smoking, or difficulty with bowel movements or urination .  Eighty percent of all hernias are located near the groin.  Hernias may also be found below the groin (femoral), through the navel (umbilical) and along a previous incision (incisional or ventral).

If you have a hernia you may notice these symptoms:
•    A noticeable bulge in the groin area, or in the abdomen
•    Pain while straining to lift, pull, or push
•    Aching sensation near groin
•    A light feeling of fullness