Restore Your Core Types of Hernia

Types of Hernia

Restore Your Core Promotion

Types of Hernia

By Lauren Ohayon 02/08/2021

4 Min Read

Abdominal hernias occur when an organ or other piece of tissue pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. The sac or bulge that protrudes from the weak spot may contain either a part of the intestine or a piece of the fatty lining of the colon (called the omentum). This typically occurs with hernias located in the abdominal wall or in the groin.

If the hernia occurs in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, the upper part of the stomach may penetrate the weak area.

Your abdomen is made up of layers upon layers of different muscle groups, tissues, and organs. It is possible that with age, prior surgeries, past injuries, new injuries, or medical conditions your abdominal muscle strength and support may become compromised. Weak spots may develop in these layers allowing the contents of your abdominal cavity to protrude or herniate. The most common hernias include an inguinal hernia which occurs in the groin, a hiatal hernia (herniated diaphragm), and an umbilical hernia, which occurs in the belly button. Some hernias may be congenital (present at birth), or they may be acquired (happening at any point in your life).

Abdominal and Pelvic Floor Hernias

Inguinal Hernias

Groin hernias are the most common hernia to occur in both men and women. Of the groin hernias, there are two different types: inguinal hernia and a femoral hernia. Statistically, almost all groin hernias are inguinal.

Inguinal hernias occur when part of your intestine protrudes through a weak spot in your lower belly. This affects what is known as the inguinal canal.

Are you looking for safe and restorative exercises to heal from pelvic floor symptoms?

Learn more about the RYC program

Are you looking for safe and restorative exercises to heal from pelvic floor symptoms?

Learn more about the RYC program

Of the inguinal hernias, there are type different types:

  • Indirect: Hernia that enters the inguinal canal
  • Direct: Hernia that does not enter the inguinal canal

Most people develop this type of hernia due to improper lifting mechanics when lifting weights or other heavy objects.

Inguinal hernias are more common in men, yet are not limited to adults either. The primary characteristic of an inguinal hernia is a lump or bulge located on either side of the pubic bone when the thigh meets the groin. You may notice this more when you cough, stand, or strain and may be painful during these activities. The lump may also disappear when you lay down.

It is important to note that one of the primary dangers of an inguinal hernia is strangulated. Although many hernias are asymptomatic and can be managed without experiencing much pain, a strangulated hernia can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and may inhibit your ability to perform a bowel movement. If this ever occurs, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Femoral Hernias

A femoral hernia typically occurs through an opening in the abdominal floor in a space that allows for the femoral artery and vein to pass from the abdomen and into the upper leg. Femoral hernias are a groin hernia that tend to occur more frequently in women than men due to their wider pelvic structure.

Like an inguinal hernia, a femoral hernia may pose potentially life-threatening health risks. Femoral hernias are dangerous because they are often asymptomatic until you need immediate medical attention. If you notice a lump around the crease of your groin or in the upper thigh, it is best to have a doctor take a look at it.

Obturator Hernias

Obturator hernias are the least common of the three pelvic floor, lower abdominal hernias. However, they are commonly found in postpartum people who have experienced multiple pregnancies or in people who have lost significant weight. The obturator canal (another connection between the abdomen and the leg) may herniate causing the obturator artery, vein, and nerve to protrude into the upper leg of the individual.

Anterior Abdominal Wall Hernias

Your abdominal wall is made up of two sets of mirrored muscle groups on either side of your body. These muscle groups include the rectus abdominis muscles (your 6-pack), the internal and external obliques, and the transversalis muscles.

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is the second most common hernia. They typically occur more often in children, but can affect adults as well. Umbilical hernias occur when fat or part of the intestine pushes through the muscles near the belly button.

Women are more likely than men to get an umbilical hernia. Your chances are also higher if you:

In adults, an umbilical hernia is more common in women. You may be at a higher risk of an umbilical hernia if you are:

  • overweight
  • experienced multiple pregnancies
  • have a chronic cough
  • enlarged prostate that causes strain when urinating
  • chronic constipation
  • chronic vomiting

Umbilical hernias are often asymptomatic as well and, in newborns, typically resolve on their own by the time the child is one. Surgical treatment may only be necessary if the hernia becomes too large or strangulated.

Epigastric Hernia

Epigastric hernias occur due to a weakness or compromised midline in the rectus abdominis muscles (also known as the linea alba) between the breastbone and the belly button. Often, the weakness goes unnoticed until later in life and may result in herniated pieces of bowel, fat, or omentum (fatty lining of the colon). Epigastric hernias may be mistaken as diastasis recti, another condition affecting the rectus abdominis and linea alba.

Spigelian Hernia

A spigelian hernia is very rare and typically occurs on the outside of the rectus abdominis muscles.

Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is another common type of hernia that may occur due to a prior abdominal surgery. Although during a surgical procedure the muscles are typically repaired, the stress of the surgery and the scarring may present as a weak spot in the abdominal wall, thus, allowing part of an organ or tissues to herniate through the incision.

Diaphragmatic Hernias

Hiatal Hernias

A hiatal hernia is different from the aforementioned types of hernias. A hiatal hernia involves a weakening or compromised section of the diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. In this same area of your body, your esophagus passes through into an opening in the diaphragm.

A hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the upper stomach herniates through the diaphragm. In most cases, a lump is not apparent, but you may experience several painful or uncomfortable symptoms: heartburn, chest pain, or you may even experience a sour taste in your mouth.

Hiatal hernias are more common in pregnant women or in people 50 and older. If your symptoms are causing you pain, lifestyle changes or prescription antacids or drugs may help ease symptoms of acid reflux. In some cases, however, you may never feel any pain or discomfort.

Paraesophageal Hernias

Paraesophageal hernias can be extremely dangerous. These occur when part of the stomach herniates into the diaphragm alongside the esophagus. This may cause a bowel obstruction or lead to volvulus (a twisting of the stomach).

Traumatic Diaphragmatic Hernias

A traumatic diaphragmatic hernia usually occurs as a result of a blunt force injury to the left side of the chest and diaphragm. An injury to this side of the chest may lead to compromised muscle strength and lead to a herniation of the organs in this location. They typically do not occur on the right side as the liver protects digestive organs from herniating.

You don’t have to live in

fear, pain or discomfort

Get back the confidence + lifestyle you love.

You don’t have to live in

fear, pain or discomfort

Get back the confidence + lifestyle you love.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are very rare and caused by a malformed diaphragm during fetal development. This may lead to incomplete lung function and a herniation of the chest organs through the diaphragm.

It is important to note that hernias typically do not resolve on their own and may pose life-threatening health risks if not treated properly. If you believe you may have a hernia or are experiencing severe symptoms or pain, talk with your doctor right away.