Abdomen | Emergency Medicine | Hernia (Disease)


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 or cause slight to severe pain.

This type of pathology is best represented by abdominal wall hernias - characterized by externalization of the peritoneal cavity viscera belonging to a weakness in the wall, this externalization can be temporary or permanent. Depending on the location of the area with low resistance, hernias are classified as: (1) Inguinal hernias: are the most common types of hernias (80% of total) and appear prominent clinical form of the scrotum or inguinal canal path; (2) Umbilical - represents 5-10% of all hernias and are more common especially in young children and in obese women (especially after 60 years) or multiparous; (3) Incisional hernias: is a particular type that occurs in the post-abdominal surgery scars (frequently called eventrations be acquired if the visceral remains subcutaneously or evisceratii, if exteriorization is complete). Other types include: Femoral hernias, Spigelian hernia, Obturator hernia and Epigastric hernia.

Causes and Risk factors

Hernias develop when pressure in the compartment of the residing organ is increased, and the boundary is weak or weakened. Causes of hiatal hernia vary depending on each individual. Among the multiple causes, however, are the mechanical causes which include: poison, improper heavy weight lifting, hard coughing bouts, sharp blows to the abdomen, tight clothing and incorrect posture. Conditions that increase the pressure of the abdominal cavity may also cause hernias or worsen the existing ones. Some examples would be: obesity, straining during a bowel movement or urination, chronic lung disease, and also, fluid in the abdominal cavity.

Also, if muscles are weakened due to poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion, hernias are more likely to occur.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A hernia will often be diagnosed using an ultrasound scan, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body.

A hernia will need surgery depending on where the hernia is located (femoral hernias and hernias in the groin are more likely to require surgery; abdominal hernias less likely), the symptoms (some hernias may not cause symptoms, others may be painful), the content of the hernia (the hernia may consist of part of your bowel, muscle or other tissue). ...