Hernia 101

We’ve all heard of hernias, but there is some misunderstanding about just what they are. What causes them? Are there different types? Do I need surgery to repair them?

Lots of questions. Since treatment of hernias is what Dr. Jacob and our team at NYC Hernia are all about, let’s answer them here in an overview of the hernia.

What is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pushes through an opening in the muscle or connective tissue (fascia) that holds it in place. Hernias are most common in the abdominal area, but they can also occur in the upper thigh, belly button, upper stomach, and groin. Most hernias aren’t emergency type conditions, but they won’t go away on their own and can require surgery to prevent potential complications.

What are the common types of hernias?

These are the most common hernias:

  • Inguinal (inner groin)
  • Incisional (site of former incision)
  • Umbilical (belly button)
  • Hiatal (upper stomach)
  • Femoral (upper thigh)

What are the causes of a hernia?

As mentioned above, there must be a combination of muscle weakness and strain for a person to develop a hernia. The risk increases with age and hernias are more common in men than women. Hernias can be congenital or develop in children with a weakness in their abdominal wall.

Generally, any activities and medical problems that increase pressure on the abdominal wall can lead to a hernia. These include:

  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Persistent cough
  • Straining to urinate
  • Lifting heavy items
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having an enlarged prostate
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Poor nutrition
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgery in the area
  • Smoking

That covers some of the basics to start. Next month, let’s get into more details of symptoms and other hernia issues. If you think you may have a hernia, please call Dr. Jacob at (212) 879-6677 to make an appointment.

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