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Hernia Information A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity bulge out of the area where they

are normally contained. These contents, usually portions of intestine or abdominal fatty tissue, are enclosed in the thin membrane that naturally lines the inside of the cavity. Hernias by themselves may be asymptomatic (produce no symptoms) or cause slight to severe pain. Nearly all have a potential risk of having their blood supply cut off (becoming strangulated). When the content of the hernia bulges out, the opening it bulges out through can apply enough pressure that blood vessels in the hernia are constricted and therefore the blood supply is cut off. If the blood supply is cut off at the hernia opening in the abdominal wall, it becomes a medical and surgical emergency as the tissue needs oxygen which is transported by the blood supply. Different types of abdominal-wall hernias include the following: Inguinal (groin) hernia: Making up 75% of all abdominal-wall hernias and occurring up to 25 times more often in men than women, these hernias are divided into two different types, direct and indirect. Both occur in the groin area where the skin of the thigh joins the torso (the inguinal crease), but they have slightly different origins. Both of these types of hernias can similarly appear as a bulge in the inguinal area. Distinguishing between the direct and indirect hernia, however, is important as a clinical diagnosis.
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Indirect inguinal hernia: An indirect hernia follows the pathway that the testicles made during fetal development, descending from the abdomen into the scrotum. This pathway normally closes before birth but may remain a possible site for a hernia in later life. Sometimes the hernia sac may protrude into the scrotum. An indirect inguinal hernia may occur at any age.

Direct inguinal hernia: The direct inguinal hernia occurs slightly to the inside of the site of the indirect hernia, in an area where the abdominal wall is naturally slightly thinner. It rarely will protrude into the scrotum. Unlike the indirect hernia, which can occur at any age, the direct hernia tends to occur in the middle-aged and elderly because their abdominal walls weaken as they age.

Femoral hernia: The femoral canal is the path through which the femoral artery, vein, and nerve leave the abdominal cavity to enter the thigh. Although normally a tight space, sometimes it becomes large enough to allow abdominal contents (usually intestine) to protrude into the canal. A femoral hernia causes a bulge just below the inguinal crease in roughly the mid-thigh area. Usually occurring in women, femoral hernias are particularly at risk of becoming irreducible (not able to be pushed back into place) and strangulated. Not all hernias that are irreducible are strangulated (have their blood supply cut off ), but all hernias that are irreducible need to be evaluated by a health-care provider.

Umbilical hernia: These common hernias (10%-30%) are often noted at birth as a protrusion at the bellybutton (the umbilicus). This is caused when an opening in the abdominal wall, which normally closes before birth, doesn't close completely. If small (less than half an inch), this type of hernia usually closes gradually by age 2. Larger hernias and those that do not close by themselves usually require surgery at age 2-4 years. Even if the area is closed at birth, umbilical hernias can appear later in life because this spot may remain a weaker place in the abdominal wall. Umbilical hernias can appear later in life or in women who are pregnant or who have given birth (due to the added stress on the area).

Incisional hernia: Abdominal surgery causes a flaw in the abdominal wall. This flaw can create an area of weakness in which a hernia may develop. This occurs after 2%-10% of all abdominal surgeries, although some people are more at risk. Even after surgical repair, incisional hernias may return.

Spigelian hernia: This rare hernia occurs along the edge of the rectus abdominus muscle through the spigelian fascia, which is several inches to the side of the middle of the abdomen.

Obturator hernia: This extremely rare abdominal hernia develops mostly in women. This hernia protrudes from the pelvic cavity through an opening in the pelvic bone (obturator foramen). This will not show any bulge but can act like a bowel obstruction and cause nausea and vomiting. Because of the lack of visible bulging, this hernia is very difficult to diagnose.

Epigastric hernia: Occurring between the navel and the lower part of the rib cage in the midline of the abdomen, epigastric hernias are composed usually of fatty tissue and rarely contain intestine. Formed in an area of relative weakness of the abdominal wall, these hernias are often painless and unable to be pushed back into the abdomen when first discovered. Hernia Causes Although abdominal hernias can be present at birth, others develop later in life. Some involve pathways formed during fetal development, existing openings in the abdominal cavity, or areas of abdominal-wall weakness. Any condition that increases the pressure of the abdominal cavity may contribute to the formation or worsening of a hernia. Examples include o obesity, o heavy lifting, o coughing,

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straining during a bowel movement or urination, chronic lung disease, and fluid in the abdominal cavity. A family history of hernias can make you more likely to develop a hernia.

Hernia Symptoms and Signs The signs and symptoms of a hernia can range from noticing a painless lump to the severely painful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue that you are unable to push back into the abdomen (an incarcerated strangulated hernia). Reducible hernia o It may appear as a new lump in the groin or other abdominal area. o It may ache but is not tender when touched. o Sometimes pain precedes the discovery of the lump. o The lump increases in size when standing or when abdominal pressure is increased (such as coughing). o It may be reduced (pushed back into the abdomen) unless very large.

Irreducible hernia o It may be an occasionally painful enlargement of a previously reducible hernia that cannot be returned into o the abdominal cavity on its own or when you push it. o Some may be chronic (occur over a long term) without pain. o An irreducible hernia is also known as an incarcerated hernia. o It can lead to strangulation (blood supply being cut off to tissue in the hernia). o Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may occur, such as nausea and vomiting.

Strangulated hernia o This is an irreducible hernia in which the entrapped intestine has its blood supply cut off. o Pain is always present, followed quickly by tenderness and sometimes symptoms of bowel obstruction (nausea and vomiting). o The affected person may appear ill with or without fever. o This condition is a surgical emergency.

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Symptoms of an inguinal hernia may include:

A bulge in the groin or scrotum. The bulge may appear gradually over a period of several weeks or months, or it may form suddenly after you have been lifting heavy weights, coughing, bending, straining, or laughing. Many hernias flatten when you lie down. Groin discomfort or pain. The discomfort may be worse when you bend or lift. Although you may have pain or discomfort in the scrotum, many hernias do not cause any pain. You may have sudden pain, nausea, and vomiting if part of the intestine becomes trapped (strangulated) in the hernia. Other symptoms of a hernia include:

Heaviness, swelling, and a tugging or burning sensation in the area of the hernia, scrotum, or inner thigh. Males may have a swollen scrotum, and females may have a bulge in the large fold of skin (labia) surrounding the vagina. Discomfort and aching that are relieved only when you lie down. This is often the case as the hernia grows larger. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/inguinal-hernia-symptoms

Symptoms of inguinal hernia include


a small bulge in one or both sides of the groin that may increase in size and disappear when lying down; in males, it can present as a swollen or enlarged scrotum discomfort or sharp painespecially when straining, lifting, or exercisingthat improves when resting a feeling of weakness or pressure in the groin a burning, gurgling, or aching feeling at the bulge

What are incarcerated and strangulated inguinal hernias? An incarcerated inguinal hernia is a hernia that becomes stuck in the groin or scrotum and cannot be massaged back into the abdomen. An incarcerated hernia is caused by swelling and can lead to a strangulated hernia, in which the blood supply to the incarcerated small intestine is jeopardized. A strangulated hernia is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of a strangulated hernia include

extreme tenderness and redness in the area of the bulge sudden pain that worsens in a short period of time fever rapid heart rate

Left untreated, nausea, vomiting, and severe infection can occur. If surgery is not performed right away, the condition can become life threatening, and the affected intestine may die. Then that portion of the intestine must be removed. Some inguinal hernias don't cause any symptoms, and you may not know you have one until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam. Often, however, you can see and feel

the bulge created by the protruding intestine. The bulge is usually more obvious when you stand upright, especially if you cough or strain. Inguinal hernia signs and symptoms include:

A bulge in the area on either side of your pubic bone A burning, gurgling or aching sensation at the bulge Pain or discomfort in your groin, especially when bending over, coughing or lifting A heavy or dragging sensation in your groin Weakness or pressure in your groin Occasionally, in men, pain and swelling in the scrotum around the testicles when the protruding intestine descends into the scrotum

BPH In BPH, the prostate gland grows in size. It may compress the urethra which courses through the center of the prostate. This can impede the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra to the outside. It can cause urine to back up in the bladder (retention) leading to the need to urinate frequently during the day and night. Other common symptoms include a slow flow of urine, the need to urinate urgently and difficulty starting the urinary stream. More serious problems include urinary tract infections and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency and can lead injury to the kidneys

What Symptoms Does BPH Cause? Due to the location of the prostate, BPH causes a number of urinary symptoms. The prostate is located just below where the bladder empties into the urethra (which is a thin tube that carries urine from the bladder, through the penis, to outside the body). As the prostate enlarges, it impinges the flow of urine through the urethra. The most common symptoms are:

Frequency - urinating much more often than normal. Urgency - having a sensation that you need to urinate immediately. Nocturia - getting up to urinate multiple times during the night. Hesitancy - difficulty starting the urine stream.

These symptoms can be identical to those experienced by men with prostate cancer. There is no way to tell if your symptoms are due to BPH or prostate cancer, so it is essential to visit your physician if you develop any of these symptoms