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Common Signs and Symptoms of Hernias to Watch Out For

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man with umbilical hernia

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  • The most common symptom of a hernia in adults is a bulge in the affected area. A hernia can most likely be felt through touch when you’re standing up, bending down or coughing
  • Some symptoms, though, can be attributed to a specific type of hernia
  • If left untreated, a hernia can grow and cause more pain. A portion of the intestine can also become trapped in the abdominal wall, obstruct your bowel and trigger severe pain, nausea or constipation

If there’s a bulge or lump on a certain part of your body, you may have a hernia — this is considered the most common symptom in adult men and women.1 Other typical indicators of a hernia include abdominal or groin pain, or abdominal discomfort that may lead to constipation or blood in the stool.2

A hernia can be felt when you’re standing up, bending down, coughing or lifting something heavy.3,4 If a baby has a hernia, the bulge may be noticeable while they’re crying, coughing or when they strain during a bowel movement.5

Some Indicators Are Specific to a Particular Type of Hernia

Specific symptom have been attributed to these other types of hernia:

Inguinal hernia:6

A round lump on the groin or scrotum that may hurt or burn

A lump that may suddenly develop after coughing, straining, laughing or lifting heavy weights, or may manifest within months or weeks

Weakness or heaviness (aside from burning or pain) in the groin7

Hiatal hernia:8

Heartburn

Upper abdominal pain9

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that may develop if hiatal hernia signs tend to be severe

Are There Complications Associated With Hernias?

If left untreated, a hernia can grow and cause more pain.10 According to the U.K.’s NHS, if you develop an inguinal hernia, a portion of the bowel can become trapped in the inguinal canal, and result in vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.11

Strangulation may also occur, and the trapped section of your intestine won’t get sufficient blood flow.12 A strangulated hernia is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention.13 If blood supply is being cut off, immediate surgery may be needed.14

MedicalNewsToday also notes that hiatal hernia may trigger acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn, which occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus.15 Natural remedies may help ease this; consult a doctor on how to properly address both hiatal hernia and acid reflux.

How Is a Hernia Diagnosed?

A physical examination can diagnose inguinal or incisional hernias.16 A doctor will look for a bulge in the abdomen or groin, or in an area located near a previous surgery that increases in size when you stand, cough or strain.17

Physical examination may be needed for children with an umbilical hernia.18 The doctor may inspect the hernia and see if it can be pushed back into place.19 In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound, X-rays or blood tests may help determine if there are other complications present.20 Meanwhile, people who may have a hiatal hernia may undergo some of these diagnostic methods:21,22

  • Barium swallow — You will drink a liquid solution containing barium before undergoing an X-ray23 to not only check for a hernia, but see if there are other problems in the esophagus and stomach.
  • Endoscopy — This involves placing a small tube with a camera and a light source down the throat, and into the esophagus and stomach. Its main goal is to check for inflammation.
  • Esophageal manometry — This determines the strength and muscle coordination of the esophagus when swallowing, and the force and coordination delivered by the esophageal muscles.
  • pH test — This test entails measuring your esophagus’ acid levels.
  • Blood test — Some doctors may recommend a red blood cell count to check for anemia.

While it’s easy to have yourself checked for a hernia if you notice indicators, in many cases hernia symptoms may not manifest in men or women.24 As such, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you notice a bump or feel pain in any part of your body.

MORE ABOUT HERNIA

Hernia: An Introduction

What Is Hernia?

Hernia Symptoms

Hernia Causes

Types of Hernia

Hernia Treatment

Hernia Surgery

Hernia Prevention

Hernia Diet

Hernia FAQ

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