Abdominal Hernia

An abdominal hernia is an outcome of an organ or another piece of tissue protruding through a weak area in one of the muscle walls surrounding the abdominal cavity. If the hernia occurs in the abdominal wall, the sac that bulges through the weak area may contain a piece of intestine and if it occurs in the groin, it may contain a fatty lining of the colon or groin. If the hernia occurs through the diaphragm then it can involve the part of the stomach.

The abdominal wall comprises of layers of different muscles and tissues. Weak spots may develop in these layers. They can allow contents of the abdominal cavity to protrude (herniate). The most common abdominal hernias are in the groin, in the diaphragm, and the belly button. Hernias may be congenital i.e present at birth, or they may be acquired any time thereafter.

What are the different types of abdominal hernias?

Hernias of the pelvic region

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias are the most common hernias. Theinguinal canal is an opening which allows the spermatic cord and testicle to descend from the abdomen into thescrotum. The opening is supposed to close tightly, but sometimes the muscles leave a weakened area. If later in life that area is subjected to stress, the weakened tissues can allow a portion of small bowel or rectum to slide through that opening, causing pain and producing a bulge. They are less likely to occur in women. This is because there is no need for an opening in the inguinal canal as they dont have testicles that need to migrate and descent.

Femoral Hernia

A femoral hernia happens through the opening in the floor of the abdomen. There is an space for the femoral artery and vein to pass from the abdomen into the upper leg. As women have wider bone structure, they tend to have femoral hernias more frequently.

Obturator Hernias

Obturator hernias are the hernias of the pelvic floor. They are not that common and are mostly found in women who have had multiple pregnancies. They also show up in the females who have lost significant weight. The hernia occurs through the obturator canal. It is another connection of the abdominal cavity to the leg and contains the obturator artery, vein, and nerve.
Hernias of the anterior abdominal wall

Epigastric Hernias

Epigastric hernias usually occur in infants. They occur because of a fault in the midline of the abdominal wall. Sometimes this weakness in the muscles does not become evident until later in adult life. This is because it appears as a bulge in the upper abdomen. Pieces of bowel or omentum can become trapped in this type of hernia.

Umbilical Hernias

This type of hernias causes abnormal bulging in the belly button. They are very common in newborns and often do not need treatment. Some they enlarge and may require repair later in life.

Incisional hernias

Incisional hernias happen as a complication of abdominal surgery. The abdominal muscles are cut to allow the specialist to enter the abdominal cavity. The muscle is usually repaired, but it becomes a relative area of weakness and potentially allows abdominal organs to herniate through the incision.

Hernias of the diaphragm

Hiatal hernias

Hiatal hernias happen when a portion of the stomach slides through the opening in the diaphragm. A sliding hiatal hernia is the most common type of hernia. It occurs when the lower esophagus and portions of the stomach push through the diaphragm into the chest. Paraesophageal hernias occur when only the stomach herniates into the chest. This can lead to serious complications of the stomach twisting upon itself or obstruction.

Traumatic diaphragmatic hernias

Traumatic diaphragmatic hernias may occur due to major injury or tears the diaphragm muscle, like penetrating trauma from a stab or gunshot wound. This can allow immediate or delayed herniation of abdominal organs into the chest cavity. These hernias usually involve the left diaphragm as the liver, which is located under the right diaphragm, tends to protect it from herniation of bowel.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are rare. They are caused by the failure of the diaphragm to form and close during fetal development. This can lead to failure of the lungs to fully mature. It also leads to decreased lung function in case the abdominal organs migrate into the chest.

Hernia Treatment

Most hernias need surgical repair. All irreducible hernias need immediate evaluation because there is usually a strong possibility of becoming strangulated. In some situations, doctors may delay the surgery. Patient with hernia can use trusses or belts to help keep the hernia reduced. They and those who have had surgical repair of hernias should avoid heavy lifting and other activities as they cause high intra- abdominal pressure.

To know more about your specific condition, please visit an General Surgeon in a a trusted hospital close to you.

Author's Bio: 

Aditya Mewati is a content writer at Logintohealth. For more information, please visit www.logintohealth.com and to read more articles, please visit www.logintohealth.com/blog