Have you noticed a small lump on your stomach or inner thigh? Do you feel a heavy ache when you strain or cough? You could have a hernia, one of the most common abdominal injuries among people of all ages.
Hernias form when an abdominal organ or tissue pokes through a weak point in your abdominal wall. The most obvious symptom is a soft, malleable lump under your skin. But what should you do if you notice this telltale sign?
Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, specializes in hernia repair in San Clemente, California. In this blog, she explains the different types of hernias and what to do if you think you might have one.
Types of hernias and where they’re found
While all hernias share similar symptoms, the differences lie in their location. Here’s how to identify the different types of hernias.
Groin hernias are by far the most common type of hernia. There are two types of groin hernias: inguinal and femoral. About 75% of all hernias are located in the groin area, and most of them are inguinal.
With inguinal hernias, your intestines push through a weak point in your lower abdominal wall. They create a lump where your thigh and groin meet, and the lump is usually visible when you stand.
Femoral hernias are much less common and make up less than 4% of groin hernia cases. They also cause a small lump to develop in your inner thigh area.
There are several different types of abdominal hernias. These hernias develop above your groin and below your ribcage. Again, we differentiate these hernias based on their location.
Hiatal hernias appear when your stomach presses up through your diaphragm muscle. These are some of the most common abdominal hernias, affecting an estimated 60% of people by age 60. These hernias usually don’t cause a noticeable bulge.
Umbilical hernias form around your belly button. Epigastric hernias form in your upper abdomen, usually above your belly button. Both of these types occur when your abdominal tissues push through a weak spot and create a visible lump in the middle of your stomach.
Incisional hernias develop near surgical scars. Abdominal surgery can create a weak point in your abdomen, allowing internal tissues to form a hernia by pushing through the incision.
What to do about your hernia
If you notice a visible lump under your skin or you experience abdominal discomfort, don’t try to diagnose the condition on your own. Make an appointment at our San Clemente office to find out if you have a hernia and get an appropriate treatment plan.
We determine what type of hernia you have with a physical exam and medical imaging, if needed. We review our findings with you and discuss treatment options.
Hernias don’t heal on their own, so you may need minimally invasive surgery to repair the injury. In some cases, we may recommend watchful waiting for small hernias that aren’t causing pain.
No matter which type of hernia you have, we offer comprehensive hernia repair. Request an appointment online or call our office at 949-393-2595 to find out more about hernia care.