Understanding Hernias | Surgical Associates of Cleveland

The team at Surgical Associates of Cleveland performs many hernia repairs. One common mistake with hernias is that far too many patients put off getting help, rather than seeking help as soon as they experience symptoms. To avoid complications of a hernia, it’s vital to get prompt medical treatment. So how much do you know about hernias? Let us take a moment to explain this common condition for you.

We call it a “hernia” when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue which is supposed to hold it in place. They can occur throughout the body, but we see mostly abdominal hernias here in the office.

Hernias most commonly occur within the abdomen, and are typically non life-threatening, but they will not go away on their own and may require surgery to prevent dangerous complications.

The most common type of hernia are called inguinal. An inguinal hernia happens when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear within the lower abdominal wall. Men are more likely to have this type of hernia than women.

Another common type of abdominal hernia is called a hiatal hernia. This type happens when part of the stomach protrudes up into the diaphragm into the chest. Hiatal hernia is more common among patients who are over age 50. Children can have the condition, but it’s usually brought on by a birth defect. Nearly every hiatal hernia in adults is caused by acid reflux.

Hernias are caused by the combination of muscle weakness and strain. They may occur quite quickly or over a longer period of time–it depends upon the reason for muscle weakness and type of strain.

Some people are more at risk for a hernia, such as individuals with:

  • A previous personal history of hernias.
  • A family history of hernias.
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • A chronic cough, or smoking which can trigger a chronic cough.
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Cystic fibrosis, or other conditions which cause a chronic cough.

By far, the most common symptom of a hernia is some type of bulge in the affected region. Other common symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the affected area.
  • Discomfort when bending over, coughing, or lifting.
  • A feeling of weakness, pressure, or heaviness in the abdomen.
  • An aching or burning sensation at the site of the bulge.
  • Acid reflux.
  • Chest pain.
  • Trouble swallowing.

If you think you may have a hernia, it’s important to see a doctor promptly. Your hernia may require lifestyle changes or surgery. Should you require surgery, the experts at Surgical Associates of Cleveland are here for you. Visit our website today to learn more about our practice and contact us today.