Hernias can be tricky little devils. They can occur across the body, but their most common areas are the inner groin (inguinal hernia), outer groin (femoral hernia), near the navel (umbilical hernia), upper abdomen (hiatal hernia), or at the site of a recent surgical scar (incisional hernia).
Dr. Jacob is a hernia expert. He’d have no trouble telling if he had a hernia, but what about yourself? It’s not always easy to know if you have a hernia, so in this Autumn in New York blog, let’s get into some signs of a hernia.
- Visible lump — This is the typical symptom. You have a noticeable lump or bulge under the skin. This protrusion forms as a sac in the organs, usually the intestines, but sometimes in the wall of the abdomen, groin, or navel. Lumps develop due to weakened tissue that’s present at birth or tissue that weakens with age. Pain may accompany the lump, or it may be yet to come.
- Pain — Hernia pain often comes as the hernia is left untreated. In the beginning, most hernias are painless. You may have a heavy sensation in the abdomen, but you wouldn’t call it pain. Bending or other movements exacerbate the pain.
- Full feeling — Umbilical or hiatal hernias often with a heavy, full, bloated, or uncomfortable feeling in the gut. A feeling characterized as a dragging sensation in your groin may signal an inguinal hernia or a femoral hernia.
- Upset stomach — When a hernia occurs in the groin or abdominal area, such as an inguinal hernia, stomach problems will often be a sign. Difficulty digesting meals, heartburn, lingering digestive upset, nausea, and bowel issues such as constipation. If a hernia becomes strangulated, where its blood supply is cut off, you will experience nausea and vomiting, and will have trouble having a bowel movement. These are emergency situations.
- Nerve pain — If a hernia irritates nerves, the areas served by those nerves can become painful. For instance, if an inguinal hernia pushes on a surrounding nerve, it can cause pain in the legs, scrotum (men), or the labia (women).
- Muscle weakness — Localized hernias may also cause fatigue or pressure in the area of origin. For instance, an inguinal hernia in the inner groin will put pressure on the surrounding leg and groin muscles. When a hernia slips out of place, this will cause discomfort.
- Pain with movement — Most hernias don’t initially cause much pain when you move, but as they grow, it’s likely you will have pain when you make sudden movements. These would be coughing, laughing, sneezing, or bending down to lift an object. If the hernia is in the abdomen, it’s likely that sitting for long periods of time, such as on a car ride or at your desk, will also be very painful.