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Hernia's > What is a Hernia

A hernia is where a part of the body protrudes through a normal or abnormal defect, usually located around the abdominal wall, however the term Hernia can apply to any part of the body.

Hernias are usually detected by the patient due to swelling being present or by routine examination by a medical doctor. Swelling may come and go or may not be present at all. Often however, swelling or bulging occurs when a person is standing up or straining. A hernia may completely disappear from sight when lying down at night or when it is pushed back into the body.

Hernias are not gender specific and can occur in both men and women. Hernia’s can occur at any time for many reasons. Sometimes you may be born with a hernia (congenital) or more often, Hernia’s may develop over time.

The Hernia or lump is made up of contents from within the abdomen and may consist of fat, omental fat, small or large bowel, or other body organs such as the bladder, ovaries or rarely the appendix.

Hernia’s may cause discomfort or pain and should not be left untreated as Hernia’s don’t get better over time, nor will they go away by themselves.

Hernias that are left untreated will tend to enlarge and develop complications.

There are some basic terms, which are important in describing hernias.

  • Reducible Hernia’s disappear back into the abdomen temporarily.
  • Irreducible Hernia’s cannot be pushed back into the abdomen.
  • Incarcerated Hernia’s are irreducible and painful. This type of Hernia is becoming dangerous.
  • Obstructed Hernia’s is where the bowel is becoming blocked but is not dead. There is usually pain and vomiting and there may be an inability to pass flatus.
  • Strangulated Hernia’s has had its blood supply clamped off and the contents such as bowel or fat are in the process of dying. Urgent surgical correction is required for strangulated Hernia’s.

Some patients can have Hernias for many years and have minimal symptoms while other patients do not know that they have a Hernia until they suddenly suffer complications such as strangulation. If you have a Hernia and suddenly have pain or vomiting then you should seek urgent medical attention and have your Hernia thoroughly checked.

For all but the most minor of Hernias, Surgery is the routine recommendation to repair all types of Hernias. Surgery is relatively quick and most people can come to hospital and have surgery and go home on the same day with minimal complications. Most people can be back doing their normal activities within a few days after surgical repair of the Hernia.

Why do Hernia's occur? >>

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