Hernias

There are many different types of hernia, the most common of which is an inguinal hernia. Inguinal hernias involve fatty tissue or a section of the bowel entering the groin at the top of the inner thigh; typically, males suffer more with this type of hernia. Age increases the likelihood of getting an inguinal hernia.  

Umbilical hernias largely affect babies. The area affected here is the tummy, near the belly button, and again it occurs when fatty tissue or part of the bowel pokes through. Adults too can suffer from this type of hernia but to a lesser extent, and this is usually caused by repeated strain on the tummy.  

Femoral hernias impact more women over men. While less common than inguinal hernias, they also occur when fatty tissue or part of the bowel pokes through into the groin at the top of the thigh. Age is also a factor in this type of hernia. 

Symptoms

Common signs include: 

  • A bulge in the area on either side of your pubic bone – which is noticeable when in a standing or sitting position, it is quite common for swelling to reduce once lying down 
  • A burning or aching sensation at the bulge 
  • Pain or discomfort in your groin – especially when bending over, coughing or lifting 
  • Dragging or heaving sensation in the area of the hernia  
  • A sense of feeling full  

Causes

Inguinal and femoral hernias can be caused by weakened muscles, aging, pregnancy or repeated strain on the abdominal and groin areas. This strain may come from physical activity, heavy lifting, obesity, frequent coughing, or constipation, which can result in straining on the toilet and general constipation can cause hernias due to pushing too hard to empty the bowels.

If you feel a sudden onset of severe pain, you must seek medical advice. Similarly, if you start to vomit, struggle to go to the toilet and/or pass wind, or the hernia has pushed out and become stuck, seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is crucial as it could indicate that a section of organ or tissue within the hernia has had its blood supply cut off (strangulation), or a piece of bowel has entered the hernia and become blocked. You should also consult your GP is if you notice the hernia increasing in size.

The severity of a hernia and therefore the likelihood of needing surgery to treat it depends on the contents of the hernia, (i.e. does it contain tissue or part of the bowel), the type of hernia (what are the risks of it causing strangulation or obstruction inside your body) and how heavily it affects your daily life.

    Surgery

    Surgery for the correction of a hernia is extremely common. This involves the surgeon reducing the lump back into the tummy and often using a little piece of mesh to repair the defect. Generally, it is recommended to rest for a few weeks after surgery for a hernia, particularly if you have an active lifestyle or a physically demanding job.

    Most people are discharged from hospital the day of surgery or the day after. Your specialist will advise you on the most appropriate treatment option. 

    To find out more or make an appointment with Mr Hornung, please call 0161 495 6148