Symptoms of Hernia

image001Symptoms of hernia occur when soft tissue such as part of the intestines or a membrane from the abdomen protrudes from a weak portion of the abdominal wall. The bulge may seem harmless but may cause pain especially when coughing or bending over. A hernia does not heal by itself and can lead to complications, which can be serious and life threatening. Surgical repair may be necessary to treat symptoms due to an enlarging hernia.

Symptoms of Hernia

Sometime there are no symptoms of hernia, and one may discover that he has one only after a visit to the doctor who finds it on routine physical examination. However, it is common to feel and see a bulge, which characteristically becomes bigger when coughing or straining. Symptoms of inguinal hernia include:

  • Bulging tissue on one side of the pubic bone
  • A bulge accompanied by burning, aching, or gurgling sensation
  • Discomfort or pain in the groin, which typically occurs when coughing, lifting, or bending over
  • A heavy sensation in the groin
  • Pressure or weakness in the groin
  • Bulge accompanied by swelling and pain around the testicles

Symptoms in Children

Inguinal hernias are common in newborn babies and young children, resulting from a congenital weakness in their abdominal wall. The hernia may be noticeable only when an baby is crying, straining, or coughing. In older children, the hernia is apparent when they cough or strain during bowel movements or when they stand for long periods.

Symptoms of Strangulated Hernia

Sometimes the hernia, which consists of a part of an intestine or of membrane (omentum) in the abdomen, bulges out and is trapped in the abdominal wall. This condition (incarcerated hernia) may be complicated later by strangulation of the blood supply to the bulging tissue. A strangulated inguinal hernia may pose serious threat to life if not treated immediately. Strangulated hernia symptoms include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Sudden pain that intensifies quickly
  • Rapid heart rate
  • A bulge that becomes dark or red/purple

Call a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Complications of Hernia

  • Pressure in the surrounding tissues. Inguinal hernias may enlarge over time when they not surgically repaired. Large hernias put pressure on other tissues. Large hernias in men may expand into their scrotum and cause swelling and pain.
  • Incarcerated hernia. When the herniated tissue becomes trapped in a weak point in the muscles of the abdomen, bowel obstruction can occur. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, severe pain, and inability to pass gas or make bowel movements.
  • Strangulation. When the hernia is incarcerated, blood flow to a part of the intestine may be cut-off, leading to a condition called strangulated hernia. This is a serious complication that can lead to death of the bowel tissue. It is also a life threatening condition that requires immediate surgical intervention.

When to See a Doctor

An inguinal hernia can be gently pushed back into the abdomen while lying down. Applying an ice pack on the bulging area may help reduce swelling and pain, which aid the hernia to slide in easily. Lying down with the pelvis higher than the head may also help push the hernia back into the abdomen.

Consult your doctor when you have a visible or painful bulge in the groin or side of the pubic bone. This bulge is most likely to be noticeable when you are standing up. You can usually feel it when you put your hand over the area. Immediate medical consultation is needed if a hernia turns dark or color red or purple.

 
 
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